Skip to main content

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

Relative size of this object

5.5 cm14.1 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: Bequeathed (1912-06-18) by Marlay, Charles Brinsley


Mid 16th-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: Friday 21 May 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: 2023-06-02 12:12:34

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Cutlery case |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-06-02 12:12:34|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Please enter your name as you would like to be addressed
Please enter your email address
The object accession number - this is prefilled
Please enter your query with as much detail as possible

More objects and works of art you might like

Knife, fork, spoon and case

Accession Number: M.58A-D-1930

Pair of knives and case

Accession Number: M.51A-C-1930


Accession Number: O.3-2017


Accession Number: M.2A-1956

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...