The Mirror of Human Trades

Many people are familiar with them – the pictures of traditional occupations, just like they’re still found now on tiles, stained-glass windows and plastic bags from, for example, the baker’s shop.

Jan Luyken, the spiritual father of these illustrations, drew a hundred trades, giving each one a motto and a moral rhyme.

With his son Casper he worked up these sketches into etchings and published them in 1694 under the title Het Menselyk Bedryf (The Mirror of Human Trades). This book was a great success and from time to time is still re-published, more than three centuries after the first publication.

Copies of these prints were published in 1698 in a similar publication in German by Christoph Weigel from Nürnberg, with the addition of five new prints by Jan and eleven by Casper Luyken.

Het Menselyk Bedryf (The Mirror of Human Trades) has often been used as an example for pictures of occupations in children’s books and so-called catchpenny prints.