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Leather panel

Leather panel

  • Place of origin:

    The Netherlands (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700-1725 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embossed and gilded leather

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Martin Van Straaten & Co

  • Museum number:


  • 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 green paint. 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

The Netherlands (made)


ca. 1700-1725 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embossed and gilded leather

Marks and inscriptions

On the back of the top left-hand corner a star painted in green (contemporary to the panel)


Height: 77 cm, Width: 60 cm

Object history note

The argument of A.J. Kendrick for accepting this panel and inventory number 421-1905 as a gift were: 'The two leather panels would be well worth adding to the Museum collection, as specimens of design and as examples of design and as examples of processes of working leather. They are both of 17th century work, and similar in design to many examples supposed to be as Spanish origin in the Museum.'

This is one of the most popular patterns ever made: five almost identical different versions have been traced (some of them in a mirrored version)(amongst which museum numbers 476-1869 and 477-1869), even as two other ones, slightly more different. The differences are in some of the flowers, the berries which are being eaten by the two birds,and the short 'string of pearls'.

Wall hanging in kasteel Meerhout (Belg.); castle Ulriksdal (Sweden). Panels in the Deutsches Tapetenmuseum, Kassel, inventory number 5/5; Deutsches Ledermuseum, Offenbach, inventory number 2248; Musée national de la Renaissance, Ecouen, inventory number unknown; coll. Colomer-Munmany, Vic, inventory number C1406; Museo National des Artes Decorativos, inventory number 471; Museum het Vleeshuis, Antwerp, inventory number 29 B1; Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis, Brussels, inventory numbers 4335, 5345/2. Altar frontals in Diozesan Muzeum, Plock, inventory number unknown; Muzeum Naradowe, Warsaw; Muzeum Pomorskiego, Gdansk; the churches in Nowy Targ, Stara Doscielnica, and Lubieszewo Tozewskie (all in Poland)

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 green ground, The Netherlands, ca. 1700-25.


Leather; Foil; Paint



Subjects depicted



Interiors; Wall coverings; Leather

Production Type

Mass produced


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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