Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sharing the Harvest - 1500s Female Food Vendors on the Streets of London

Diarist Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) was fascinated by popular images of London street vendors & hawkers. Among more than 10,000 engravings & 18,000 printed ballads he amassed in his library was a folio entitled “Cryes consisting of Several Setts thereof, Antient & Moderne: with the differ Stiles us’d therein by the Cryers.”  These are from his earliest collection of street cries published in the 16C. Images of street vendors probably originated with a Paris woodcut produced around 1500. The genre spread to major European cities portraying an infinite variety of both male & female peddlers.