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Florentine leather casket - 16th century
Florentine leather casket - 16th century - Objects of Vertu Style Renaissance
Ref : 104331
Period :
<= 16th century
Provenance :
Italy, Tuscany
Medium :
Wood, iron, leather
Dimensions :
H. 10.04 inch | Ø 9.45 inch
Objects of Vertu  - Florentine leather casket - 16th century
Dei Bardi Art

Sculptures and works of art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

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Florentine leather casket - 16th century

Leather casket
Italy, Tuscany
16th century
leather, iron and wood.
diameter : 24 cm; high : 25,5 cm

Boiled leather box incised on a wooden core; iron lock.
The central shield is divided into 4 equal sections by a quartered cross and inscribed in a cartridge with windings and folded edges. The quartered shields are generally composed of several families united by alliances.
The section featuring 7 diamonds is the coat of arms belonging to the Bardi family; the rampant wolf is probably the emblem of the Florentine family Altoviti.

The construction method is boiled leather, often referred to by its French translation cuir-bouilli: a process used to change flexible, vegetable-tanned leather into rigid, moulded objects. For shaping of the vegetable-tanned leather, heat and moisture were used, as indicated by the term boiled leather. No written medieval sources describing the production of decorated cuir bouilli objects survive, so knowledge of the process relies on the important studies of the Scottish leather historian John William Waterer. A large range of methods, materials and techniques could be used in various combinations. The vegetable-tanned leather, made supple with moisture and heat, was stuffed, shaped and nailed to the rigid wooden coffer support. The stuffing material was probably modeled beeswax or stearin wax. To shape the leather, to create its topography.
Then the decoration was done: lines were incised through the upper layer of the leather (epidermis) with different thicknesses of knives or needles. Contours were created with deep v-shaped cuts, decoration with thin incision and final details with a needle point. For the incision and pouncing stage, the leather was probably kept heated and moistened for suppleness. Once dry, the leather would be hard and rigid.
the saturated leather is worked over a form, possibly even damp sand, with the pattern shaped using bone or wooden tools. Compare to metal, leather was lighter and it offered protection from cuts and punctures. Cuir bouilli objects were produced by specialist leather workers and needed skillful craftsmanship.

Dei Bardi Art


Box & Necessaire Renaissance