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Cutlery case: M.35 & A-1929

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown




Boiled leather case for holding cutlery; decorated with stamped and engraved borders and an oval cartouche containing a tree

Boiled, stamped and engraved leather (cuir bouilli) case, with three internal compartments, probably for holding a knife, fork and spoon. The domed pull-off lid and tapering body have two suspension loops on each side, through which a cord would have been threaded. The case is decorated with borders of scrolling foliage on a matted ground, diaperwork and an oval cartouche containing pseudo armorials of a tree.


History note: From the Fitzhenry Collection, and later the Spitzer Collection

Legal notes

Given by W.E Miller

Measurements and weight

Height: 5.0 cm
Length: 24.5 cm
Width: 6.6 cm

Relative size of this object

24.5 cm5 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1929-10-31) by Miller, W. E.


Mid 16th-17th Century
1550 - 1650

School or Style


Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Cuir bouilli : There is much conjecture on how 'boiled leather' or 'cuir bouilli' was made and whether the leather was boiled in water. The most popular theory is the one suggested in 'La Grande Encyclopedie (Paris 1887-1905) in which: 'pieces of leather must be boiled in wax mixed with resin and glue. Once boiled in this manner, the leather preserves, whilst it is moist, sufficient pliability to enable it to be moulded, and when it is dry it possess a hardness and rigidity nearly equal to that of wood to which it is preferable by reason of its lightness.' The stamped and engraved decoration would have been added before the leather was dried.

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: ON LOAN FROM / Fitzhenry / 1894
  • Location: On the bezel
  • Method of creation: Printed and written in black ink, and stuck with glue
  • Type: Paper label
  • Text: Collection / 1893 / SPITZER
  • Location: On the bezel
  • Method of creation: Printed in black ink, and stuck with glue
  • Type: Paper label
  • Text: 36
  • Location: Inside a division
  • Method of creation: Written in black ink, and stuck with glue
  • Type: Paper label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.35 & A-1929
Primary reference Number: 150666
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 11 August 2015 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Cutlery case" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-06-04 16:44:21

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{{cite web|url= |title=Cutlery case |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-06-04 16:44:21|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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