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This is a Leather. It is dated ca. 1700 and we acquired it in 1903. Its medium is leather, stamped, embossed, silvered, varnished. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

Though frequently referred to as Spanish or Dutch leathers these embossed leathers were made all across Europe. The production of embossed leathers was very labor intensive. The first step is to cover the entire surface of the tanned leather with silver leaf, which is then brushed with a layer of yellow varnish to give it a gold appearance. It is then embossed by turning upside down and pressing into a mold. Lastly, the design is painted on with oils. Embossed leathers were only produced using silver leaf as the guilds were very strict about this and had severe penalties for using other types of metal. The molds used to emboss the leathers were developed in The Netherlands in early 17th C. Prior to that time all leathers were just flat w/ painted designs. This leather is stamped with a large central medallion which contains birds, stylized flowers and grape clusters around a central trellis-work structure. While intricately embossed there is little remaining pigment on the surface.

It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Thomas Snell.

  • Sidewall, Tudor Rose
  • embossed canvas with backing paper.
  • Gift of Arlene M. and Thomas C. Ellis.
  • 1981-65-15
  • Leather (Netherlands)
  • embossed leather, painted, gilded.
  • Museum purchase through gift in memory of Josephine C. Howell and through....
  • 1989-34-1

Our curators have highlighted 4 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Sidewall (USA)
  • block-printed, glazed, embossed paper.
  • Gift of Mary Kate Conrad.
  • 2012-14-3
  • Sidewall (Japan)
  • fiber composition, tung oil, embossed.
  • Gift of Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.
  • 1953-156-11-a/c

Its dimensions are

H x W: 73 x 58 cm (28 3/4 x 22 13/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Leather; leather, stamped, embossed, silvered, varnished; H x W: 73 x 58 cm (28 3/4 x 22 13/16 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Thomas Snell; 1903-21-3

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Hewitt Sisters Collect.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Leather |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=23 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>