Paul Fourdrinier

Paul Fourdrinier was born in Amsterdam, the son of French Huguenots, who later moved to England. Paul became a well known copper engraver and printmaker but he has largely been forgotten by history.

Born at the end of 1698 in Amsterdam, he was the son of French Protestant parents who had been deported to England and later moved to the Netherlands. It is believed that the teenage Paul was apprenticed for six years to Bernard Picart, one of the greatest engravers of his time, who as a convert to Protestantism had fled Huguenot persecution and moved to Amsterdam in 1711.

In 1720 the Fourdrinier family returned to London where Paul was able to find employment with Jacob Tonson, a prominent publisher. His first job was to produce around a hundred engravings for John Dryden’s translation of “The Works of Virgil”. His work was well received and he went on to work on engravings for Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. He was also commissioned to provide illustrations on books about Palladian Neoclassical architecture published by the 3rd Earl of Burlington.

Paul married Susanna Grolleau, herself the daughter of a Huguenot cloth dealer, and together they had a large family. In 1731, now well established in London, he set up a studio at the corner of Craig’s Court and Whitehall, producing engravings ranging from portraits to astronomical maps for leading figures in London society. He was frequently employed on architectural works as his engraving style was very accurate and detailed. His career involved him in many well known projects such as the first Westminster Bridge and the Georgian City of Bath. 

He died in 1758 at the young age of 60 and is buried in the Grolleau family grave in the Huguenot Cemetery in Wandsworth, London.

Sources include: & British Library website

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