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Instrument case: M.37 & A-1929

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown




Boiled leather case for holding instruments with five internal compartments; decorated with stamped and engraved borders

Boiled, stamped and engraved leather (cuir bouilli) case, with five internal compartments. The pull-off lid and slightly fluted 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.

Legal notes

Given by W.E Miller, Esq.

Measurements and weight

Height: 4.2 cm
Length: 17.0 cm
Width: 5.5 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century, Mid-17th Century#
1550 - 1650

School or Style


Components of the work

Interior composed of wood?
Surface composed of leather

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: 104
  • Location: Onthe bezel
  • Method of creation: Rectangular label, written in black ink, and stuck with glue
  • Type: Paper label
  • Text: 2284
  • Location: Inside the lid
  • Method of creation: Rectangular label, printed in black ink, and stuck with glue
  • Type: Paper label
  • Text: 37/29 / 5
  • Location: The string tied to the lid, but the label inside the case
  • Method of creation: Rectangular green tag, written in black ink
  • Type: Paper tie on label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.37 & A-1929
Primary reference Number: 150668
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 11 August 2015 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

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 (2024) "Instrument case" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-21 00:05:08

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{{cite web|url= |title=Instrument case |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-05-21 00:05:08|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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