GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

An Industrious Mother and her Daughters Spin Wool (1769-74)
During the eighteenth century, illustrated books dealing with everyday topics such as family life, social conditions, and work became increasingly popular in the German lands. The image reproduced below is from one such text, Basedows Elementarwerk (1774, vol. 1). The editor, Johann Bernhard Basedow (1724-1790), was an educational reformer, pedagogue, and advocate of philanthropic education. Among other things, his educational program called for playful and practical learning, instruction in the crafts, physical training, and interdenominational religious instruction – all oriented toward personal happiness and the benefit of society in general. This image is one in a series depicting “human needs and inclinations” and is meant to illustrate the need for goods. The original accompanying text describes the industriousness of a textile dyer’s entire family, and explains that their good work helped the family amass considerable wealth. Etching by Daniel Chodowiecki (1726-1801), 1769-74.