Johann Josef Freidhof (1768-1818)
The famous copperplate engraver was born in humble circumstances in Heggen (in the administrative unit of Attendorn) in 1768. With the support of his patrons, foremost Baron von Stade zu Ahausen, he studied at the University of Cologne for one year. Then he worked as a secretary for the customs commissioner of the Electorate of Cologne in Uerdingen for three years. In his spare time, he began to reproduce copper engravings without having been trained in the art. His talent was recognised and he was offered an apprenticeship with the copperplate engraver J. G. Huck in Düsseldorf.
In 1798, Freidhof moved to Berlin, where his work earned him great acclaim. In 1805, he became a professor of copperplate engraving and a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in Berlin. He died in 1818.
The Südsauerlandmuseum owns an extensive collection of his works.