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Leather panel

Leather panel

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1855 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Dulud, Jacques Michel (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embossed and gilded leather

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This panel of leather is one of a series (Museum nos. 3703A to 3706-1856) which shows stages of manufacture and variant decoration of the same design. The panel shows the second stage, after the damp leather has been pressed into a mould to create relief decoration and the background has been painted brown. At later stages, other colours would be added and the highlights were often covered in metal foil, varnished to give the appearance of gold. Such leather panels were frequently used for wall decoration and are usually called 'gilt leather', although no actual gilding is involved.

The panels were made in1855 by the French firm of Jacques Michel Dulud. The firm often used historic styles which were particularly fashionable at the time. This design of curving, scrolling branches, was based on designs of the medieval period. The Metropolitan Museum in New York has a chair of about 1850 (inventory number 1995.164) by the French furniture maker Jeanselme, which uses exactly this pattern of leather for the upholstery, showing that wall decoration was not their only use.

Physical description

A rectangular leather panel moulded with an overall design of curving leafy scrolls in medieval style, entwined with ivy and morning glory, the main scrolls bearing pairs of flowers in each ogee-shaped reserve, including poppies, buttercup and a hanging snowdrop-like flower, all appearing to grow from different elements of the same continuous stems. The panel is composed of a single skin, with no joins. It shows a narrow (1 cm) border outside the stamped area of decoration on three sides. On the fourth side, the panel has been cut through with a knife, interrupting the pattern. The panel shows an intermediate stage in the creation of such leather panels, with only the background coloured in brown paint.Related Museum numbers (3703A-1856, 3704-1856, 3706-1856) show different stages of variant decoration of the same pattern. There is a narrow border (approximately 1cm wide) outside the stamped area on three sides.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca. 1855 (made)


Dulud, Jacques Michel (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Embossed and gilded leather


Height: 53.4 cm, Width: 64.7 cm

Object history note

Purchased by the Museum at the Exposition Universelle, Paris 1855. See: Third Report of Department of Science and Art for 1855', pages 67, 80. Identical to V&A Museum numbers 3703a-1856, 3704-1856, 3704a-1856, 3704b-1856, 3704c-1856.

Purchased for 5 shillings 2 pence.

Descriptive line

Stamped with overall pattern in medieval style, of scrolling plant stems, leaves and flower heads, the background painted dark brown. French, ca. 1855, by the firm of Jacques Michel Dulud. Shown at the Paris International Exhibition, 1855

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Starcky, Emmanuel, Napoleon III et la reine Victoria: une visite à l’Exposition universelle de 1855, Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux, 2008.
Robinson, J.C. ed. Inventory of objects in the collections of the museum of ornamental art at the South Kensington Museum. London, 1860. p.113, no. 9626
Koldeweij, Eloy F. 'Gilt Leather as an Upholstery Material', in Riggisberger Berichte, no. 17, Furnishing Textiles. Studies in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Interior Decoration', published by the Abeff Stiftung, 2009, pp. 179-236, p. 185

Production Note

Attribution taken from early printed acquisition lists. 'Cuirs Dulud' workshop, 14 rue Vivienne, Paris.


Leather; Paint


Moulding; Painting

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Foliate scrolls


Interiors; Furniture; Wall coverings; Leather


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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