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Cutlery case: M.39 & A-1929

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown




Boiled leather case for holding cutlery, stamped with scalework within reeded borders, with a suspension cord

Boiled and stamped leather (cuir bouilli) case, probably for holding a knife and spoon. The domed pull-off lid and tapering body have three suspension loops on each side, through which is threaded a brown cord, probably of cotton. The case is decorated with panels of punched scalework within reeded borders.

Legal notes

Given by W.E Miller

Measurements and weight

Height: 3.2 cm
Length: 17.8 cm
Width: 5 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century
1500 - 1600

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: 39/29 / 7
  • Location: Tied to the cord
  • Method of creation: Rectangular green tag, written in black ink
  • Type: Paper tie on label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.39 & A-1929
Primary reference Number: 150670
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 11 January 2023 Last processed: Friday 8 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) "Cutlery case" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-19 09:39:41

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{{cite web|url= |title=Cutlery case |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-05-19 09:39:41|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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