Here are some images from hide tanning workshops from Diderot’s Encyclopedia, 1769 that I found interesting as a leather worker and occasional hide tanner.
If you have done any hide tanning you’ll recognize the tools of the trade. Not much changes for the small-time home tanner.
I suspect this is some hot and smelly work and judging by the way they’re dressed it is a hot room. The only large traditional tannery I have visited was in Morocco and it had an odor on a hot summer day that hit you like a brick wall. I’m not sure what they’re doing with the fire at this stage but maybe adding some amount of smoke rather than heat.
Any thoughts or insights?