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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. 3703 to 3706-1856) which shows stages in the making of leather panels for use on walls or upholstery. The panels shows an intermediate stage. After the damp leather was pressed into a mould to create relief decoration, the raised ornament was covered with metal foil which was varnished to look like gold leaf, and the background was painted dark green. It is possible that, in a later stage, the raised areas would have been given more detail with coloured varnishes or paints. This series of panels were made in about 1855 by the French firm of Jean Michel Dulud, who specialized in this technique. They often used historic styles which were particularly fashionable at the time. This design of curving, scrolling branches, was based on Gothic 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.

Physical description

A leather panel moulded with an overall design of curving leafy scrolls in Gothic Revival 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. This panel shows an intermediate stage of the creation of the design, with the relief decoration covered in metal foil and varnished to give the appearance of gilding and the background painted dark green. A final stage of highlighting the foil areas may have been intended. This panel has probably been reduced in size as all four sides are knife cut. Two sides (the top and left) still show margins of approximately 1 cm outside the moulded area of the panel.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca. 1855 (made)


Dulud, Jacques Michel (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Embossed and gilded leather


Height: 64.7 cm, Width: 31 cm

Object history note

Acquired 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 no's 3704-1856, 3704a-1856, 3704b-1856, 3704c-1856, 3705-1856.

'Offered as gift to Museum of Leathercraft, two parts' , 01/01/1968 (Board of Survey 66/3142). Part of this panel is in the Museum of Leathercraft, inventory no. 1626-'68: 54 x 32 cm (=330 3/4" x 24 3/4").

See also: A Technical investigation into the methods and materials used for gilt leather manufacture from the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum (unpublished report, c.1996, held by the FTF Dept.), item 21
Report prepared by Christopher Calnan, Adviser on Conservation of Organic Materials at the National Trust, London.
Examination of decorative surface carried out by Catherine Hassell, University College, London
Examination of vegetable tannins carried out by Jan Wouters, KIK, Brussels.

Descriptive line

Embossed leather panel in Gothic style scroll diaper pattern, heightened with gold on a green ground. Jacques Michel Dulud, Paris, ca. 1855

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

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. 9627
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. Made at the 'Cuirs Dulud' workshop, 14 rue Vivienne, Paris.


Leather; Paint; Metal foil; Varnish


Moulding; Painting; Varnishing

Subjects depicted

Foliate scrolls; Flowers


Interiors; Wall coverings; Leather


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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