Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Leather panel

Leather panel

  • Place of origin:

    Southern Netherlands (This is one of the most popular designs of the period 1700-1725 and was much copied in the 19th century. Eloy Koldeweij and Horst Glass have suggested that it was first made in the workshop of Carolus Jacob (1693-1728) in the city of Malines (Mechelen). See J.P. Fournet,<i> Les Cuirs Dorés Anciens en France</i>. PhD thesis, Ecole du Louvre, Paris, 2004, p. 814, where another version of the design, from a private collection, is discussed and a number of other versions are listed.
    Versions of the design made in the 19th century are found in the V&A inv. nos. 3692-1856, 3694-1856 and 3729-1856, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700-1725 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embossed and gilded leather

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Murray Marks

  • Museum number:

    477-1869

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Mass-produced panels of leather, with embossed designs, became popular in many areas of Europe during the 17th century. By 1700 they were produced in very large numbers, particularly in the Netherlands.

The patterns were created by carved wooden moulds, into which the dampened panel of leather was pressed. When dry, the raised areas were decorated with silver-coloured metal foil, varnished to give the effect of gilding. The ground areas were coloured with paints or varnishes, which might also be used to add highlights to the foiled areas. Such panels are usually referred to as 'gilt leather' although no gold leaf was used. They were particularly popular for dining rooms, where they did not trap food smells as textile hangings would do.

This pattern must have been highly popular. Several versions are known, with different coloured finishes, both in museum collections and surviving in houses and public buildings as far apart as Brussels and Denmark.

Physical description

A rectangular panel of leather, decorated with moulded relief, highlighted in varnished foil, imitating gilding, against a background of dark brown paint within a central cartouche, grey- white outside it. The relief areas are further decorated with polychrome paint over the foiling. The panel centres on a cartouche with in-curved borders, outlined with cross-reeded banding and enclosing a trellised plinth supporting a fan-shaped motif, between two birds, with naturalistic flowers below the plinth and bunches of grapes to either side of the plinth, below the birds. Outside the central cartouche, the long sides who framing elements from a second cartouche and the corners are decorated with shield-shaped motifs, running out from the main cartouche frame.

Place of Origin

Southern Netherlands (This is one of the most popular designs of the period 1700-1725 and was much copied in the 19th century. Eloy Koldeweij and Horst Glass have suggested that it was first made in the workshop of Carolus Jacob (1693-1728) in the city of Malines (Mechelen). See J.P. Fournet, Les Cuirs Dorés Anciens en France. PhD thesis, Ecole du Louvre, Paris, 2004, p. 814, where another version of the design, from a private collection, is discussed and a number of other versions are listed.
Versions of the design made in the 19th century are found in the V&A inv. nos. 3692-1856, 3694-1856 and 3729-1856, made)

Date

ca. 1700-1725 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Embossed and gilded leather

Marks and inscriptions

'H'
On the back of the right-hand corner painted in green (contemporary to the panel).

Dimensions

Height: 77 cm, Width: 62 cm

Object history note

This is probably the most popular pattern ever made: five almost identical, but different versions exist (some of them in a mirrored version), even as two others, which are slightly different.

Wall hanging in the country house Gronsöo (Sweden); country house Vemmetofte (Denmark); kasteel Rhoon (Neth.); country house Rosenholm (Sweden); Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem (Neth.) Panels in the V&A, museum no. 476-1869; Kunstgewerbemuseum, Dresden, inventory number 9800; Deutsches Ledermuseum, Offenbach am Main, inventory number 3799; Bijloke Museum, Gent, inventory number unknown; Museo Albert Sampaio, Guimaraes (Port.) See for the 19th-century version: museum numbers 3692-1856, 3692A-1856, 3692B-1856, 3693-1856 and 3694-1856.

Descriptive line

Leather panel with a central, shaped cartouche including a plinth below a fan-shaped motif flanked by birds, the whole decorated with varnished foild set against a dark brown ground (within the cartouche) and a grey-white ground (outside the cartouche), the details highlighted in polychrome varnishes, Southern Netherlands, ca. 1700-25.

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

J.F. Riano, Catalogue of the art and objects of Spanish production in the South Kensington Museum, London 1872, page 61
John W. Waterer, Leather and Craftmanship, London 1950, plate 18
John W. Waterer, Spanish Leather, London 1971, plate 53
South Kensington Museum, John Charles Robinson, J. C Robinson, and R. Clay, Sons and Taylor. 1881. Catalogue of the Special Loan Exhibition of Spanish and Portuguese Ornamental Art: South Kensington Museum, 1881. London: Chapman & Hall, p.186

Materials

Leather; Foil; Paint

Techniques

Moulding; Embossing; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Birds

Categories

Interiors; Wall coverings; Leather

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.