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Cutlery case: MAR.M.? & A-1912

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown




Boiled leather case for holding cutlery; decorated with stamped borders of leaves and flowers

Boiled and stamped leather (cuir bouilli) case, with four internal compartments, for holding a knife, folding spoon and two narrow implements. 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 leaves, trefoils and flowers.


History note: Not known before testator

Legal notes

C.B. Marlay Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 14.1 cm
Width: 5.5 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1912-06-18) by Marlay, Charles Brinsley


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

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: Spoon-case, with space for knife, etc. / 17th century
  • Location: Inside the case
  • Method of creation: Rectangular card, written in black ink
  • Type: Paper label

Identification numbers

Accession number: MAR.M.? & A-1912
Primary reference Number: 167389
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) "Cutlery case" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-30 16:21:03

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{{cite web|url= |title=Cutlery case |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-05-30 16:21:03|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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