caskets-boxes-bib - 12/24/02
A bibliography on medieval caskets and boxes by Master Magnus Malleus.
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 18:03:54 -0400
From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>
Subject: Leather Boxes and Caskets (updated)
To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu
> I'm looking for any information dealing with the construction of boxes
made from leather or wooden boxes covered with leather.
- thanks, Rolf the Blunt <
Okay, this is an item of mild interest to me so I'll give you a
Anker, Peter: Chests and Caskets; Norway, 1975.
The author is the Director of the Museum of Applied Art in
Bergen, and an expert on Norwegian folk art. English.
Bibl.80 pp. 105 b&w ill. 4 col. ill. 8"x5 1/2". Softbound.
ISBN 82-7003-054-6. Code: 2628 Price: $26.50, From:
info at nordicartbooks.com, Nordic Art Books, 3650 Cross
Creek Road Malibu, California, 90265-4946 U.S.A,
tel: (310) 456-8762 or (818) 222-1122 / fax:(310) 456-5714
This is a fascinating history of the chest - and of its
smaller relation, the casket - their practical uses,
social functions, customs associated with them, materials,
productions, and decorations. Chapters include: Before
Drawers and Cupboards; The First Chests; The Dwellings of
the Dead; House-Shaped Chests, Arks and Grain Bins;
Gothic Chests; The Role of the Chest in the Past; Chests
and Benches, The Craft of the Renaissance Joiner; Bridal
Chests and Coats of Arms; Baroque Chests, The 17th Century;
From the Traveller's Chest to the Trunk and the Suit-Case;
Chests in Rural Storehouses; Rose-Painted Chests (The
Halling Chest, the Telemark Chest); Carved Chests, Caskets,
Chests Today, Chests c. 1000-1900.
Berger, Ewald: Prunk-Kassetten, Europaische Meisterwerke aus Acht
Jahrhunderten, Ornamental Caskets, Eight Centuries ; 1998:
Arnoldsche, Stuttgart, cloth, dj, Text in English and German.
The Hans Schell Collection, Graz., profuse color & b/w illus.,
318 pages, 12 x 10, ornamental caskets / decorative art /
metal work /gold boxes. ISBN 3-925369-83-X $110.
Bestand katloge der Hanns Schell collection; Bd 1. (to be
followed by others on cast iron objects, locks and keys, forged
steel objects, and guild emblems.) Pp. 336, approximately 500
Berger, Ewald: Ornamental Coffers; Eight Centuries of European
Craftsmanship ISBN: 392536983X Arnoldsche Verlaganstalt GmbH,
Jan.1999, US 110.00
Blair, John, and Nigel Ramsey: English Medieval Industries; 1992. An
overview of the current level of knowledge in a number of
disciplines, including wood, leather, fabric, and pewter casting.
Has some small discussion on the matter.
Buckley, J.J.: Some Early Ornamented Leatherwork. Journal of the Royal
Society of Antiquaries of Ireland vol. XLV, part IV, 1915.
pp.300-309 (Cumdachs and Polaires: Medieval Irish Book Shrines
and Book Satchels)
Camille, Michael: The Medieval Art of Love, Objects and Subjects of
Desire, Harry N. Abrams Pubs., 1998, New York, ISBN 0810915448
Contains a range of objets d'amour including caskets. Pages 67
and 107 have two different caskets. The style of carving
looks very two-dimentional, there's a background and a
foreground with very little modeling. All the other detail is
provided by paint. The one from Cologne on 67 is definitely
similar in style to the Swiss casket on 107. Appears to be
painted pierced applique put into a carved out depression.
Cherry, John: "The Talbot Casket and Related Late Medieval Caskets"
Archaeologica 107 (1982): 131-40.
D'Allemagne, Henry Rene: Decorative Antique Ironwork, A Pictorial
Treasury, over 4500 illustrations; Dover, New York, 1968,
416 pages, PB, ISBN 0486220826, contains many locks, keys
and escutcheon plates on pages 36-104, and also contains
many illustrations of medieval and renaissance chests and
almsboxes on pages 391-408. My copy is 1968 but it's in reprint.
Contains a number of pictures of caskets and fittings. Some
of them are leather covered.
: Deutsches Ledermuseum: Kunsthandwerk, Volkskunde, Völkerkunde,
Fachtechnik; Deutsches Schuhmuseum; 2.Aufl. Offenbach am Main,
1961. 154 pp. 58 ills.
GALL, GÜNTHER.: Leder im europäischen ; Kunsthandwerk. Braunschweig,
1965. 4to., orcl., xii, 406 pp., w. 16 pl. in color 304 ills.
in text. (Bibl. für Kunst u. Antiquitätenfreunde, Bd. XLIV).
Klinkhardt & Biermann - Braunschweig.
- It is flat out stunning in the variety of items. There are
fantastic things in it like crown cases, reliquary cases, leather
caskets and trunks, cases for all sorts of things, many of them
repouseed in very high relief. There are a number of leather
covered shields in it. A few early ones, many from around 1600.
On the subject of shoes, it has only a shoe foot reliquary, and
I don't recall any saddles. The entries are from many different
museums and countries.
- There are a number of differently styled leather bottels than
we are used to seeing although there is a short section on English
style jacks, bombards, and costrels.
- There are cases for silver and crystal cups, one particularly
fine piece is a leather cover for a fully rigged silver ship
centerpiece, masts, flags, rigging and all.
- There are some knife scabbards but no sword scabbards except for
a case for a sword of state.
- A few of the pieces are religious. Most are secular. The majority
of the book is simply masterpiece quality work.
- A number of the pieces such as the shields and caskets are
illustrated from more than one view, in the case of the caskets
usually front and back or front and top, but not ends. I was very
impressed with the number of leather caskets in it. The
majority of this book is later Middle Ages and Renaissance and
the material seems to end about 1920, but there is very little
modern work in it. This is one of the ultimate books on the subject.
Hoving, Thomas: Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle
Ages; Published by E.P. Dutton and Co. in association with
Metropolitan Museum of Art, First Edition, Reproductions, photos,
Cloth, 1975. ISBN (cloth) 052549507x; (paper) 0870990969
Many leather items, some have some raised leather with glue/
dust inserts under it.
Kup, Karl. "Notes on a Fifteenth-Century Cofferet" Connoisseur 140
Leland, Charles G.: Leather Tooling; Sterling Publishing Co. New York,
1975. Oak Tree Press, London and Sydney. Various dates. First
published as Leather Work: A Practical Manual for Learners
in England, 1892.
Not much on caskets or trunks but really excellent on tooling
and full of medievally inspired designs. Excellent on the subject.
Mullbacher, Eva: Europaische Lederarbeiten vom 14. bis 19. Jahrhundert;
(European Leatherwork from the 14th to 19th Centuries); Staatliche Museen
Preussicher Kulturbesitz, Berlin 1988. Aus dem Sammlungen des Berliner
Kunstgewerbemuseseums 1988. 19.5 x 24.5 cm., Brosch, 96 pages, 80 b&w
and 18 color illustrations. Vorwort 3; Einfuhrung 4; Lederarbeiten mit
geschnittenem dekor, Katalog 1-26 p.6.; Lederarbeiten mit gemalten Dekor, Druck und Golddruck,
Nenno, Rosita: "Gerbeverfahren, Lederverarbeitung, und Zeirtechniken"
in: Europa"ische Technik in Mittelalter, 800 bis 1400, Tradition
and Innovation, Ein Handbuch, by Uta Lindgren, Gebr. Mann Verlag,
Berlin, 1996. ISBN 3786117489. Leather article covers pages
487-92, includes closeups of several highly molded caskets.
Newman, Thelma: Leather as Art and Craft: ISBN 0 517 505754, there is
a photo of a leather covered box from 15th C. Italy from the
Metropolitan Museum of Art.
de Récy, Georges: Leather Work; From the French of Georges de Récy
(The Decoration of Leather) translated by Maude Nathan,
(1905) Reprinted 2000, The Caber Press, Jack C. Thompson,
Editor. http://home.teleport.com/~tcl/caber.htm Originally
104 pages reduced to 48, retaining the period Middle Ages and
Renaissance information and pictures, dropping the modern
material. Eleven pictures depict leather caskets (3); An
Italian 15th C.case of cut and embossed leather cuir bouilli;
a French 14th C. Coffret, incised, colored and gilt, a case
of cut and punched leather - German, 15th C., an Italian cover
of a Case for a cup in wood covered embossed leather -
cuir bouilli, embossed, painted and gilt, about 1500; A
Powder-flask of wood covered with leather - cuir bouilli,
cut and embossed - Italian 16th C.; An Italian 16th C.
Shield of cut and embossed cuir bouilli; A Blind stamped
leather bookbinding oF the Winchester Domesday Book -
English 12th C.; A 15th C. German Brown Leather bookbinding,
cut and engraved with punched background - German MS.
Chronicle of Events; A blind-stamped Morroco binding with gilt
roundels and coloured cameo design - Celsus. De Medicina,
Venice 1477, A cover of a work box of wood covered with
embossed leather, cuir bouilli, German 16th C.. Sections
include Tools and Leather, Choice of Skin, Methods of working
in leather: tracing the design on the leather, Incising the
leather, Modelling Tools, Embossing leather, modelled leather
with Punched background, Leather Hangings and Furniture,
Some extracts from the report of the committee on leather for
bookbinding appointed by the Society of Arts, February 1900.
No chests in this one but some excellent inspiration and tips:
Russell, Janet: English Medieval Leatherwork; Arch. Journal 96
(1) 1939, pp. 132-41 and plates I-VI. Discusses metal
stamps, embossed and relief designs, blunt tool engravings,
incised designs, cuir bouilli, painting and gilding,
guilds, illustrates sheathes, part of a saddle, shoe toe,
short select bibliography. Plate I contains a fifteenth
century knife sheath with fleur-de-lis stamps in an under
and over double lattice running between diamonds (quite
attractive), and the upper and lower pieces of an embossed
thirteenth century knife sheath at roughly 2/3 scale size,
totaling about nine inches each. Plate II shows an
embossed fifteenth century Rondel Dagger Sheath with
incised coil decoration; Part of stamped and incised
Fleur-de Lys decoration on a belt (very intricately and
numerously stamped; and a small bit of Moulded Relief
decoration on a cuir-bouilli inkwell, showing three
saints in arcaded little panels over a man (Saint
Sebastian probably) with his hands tied behind him and
three arrow heads to either side of his arcade, with
archers on either side of him in their arcaded panels.
Plate III shows an incised knife sheath, fifteenth century
(9 1/2"); an engraved knife sheath with embossed birds in
acanthus scrolls of the 12th C. (8"); and Part of a
sword-sheath decorated with punched and engraved fleur-de-lys
of the 14-15th centuries (13"). Plate IV shows the upper
part of a knife sheath, back engraved with animals in
Acanthus Roundels and the front having designs of chevrons
and three shields in both embossed and lightly stamped and
cut designs. Plate V shows a 14th C. knife sheath with dull
tool embossed cross-hatch designs; a 15th C. sheath with
engraved and pricked design of diamonds with strapping
between them and varying designs within them; and a small
part of a 13-14th C. zoomorphic design. Plate VI shows a
suggested part of a saddle (now taken to be an upper arm guard)
with foliage and animals. Plate VII shows the triangular
supposed toe of a shoe, which is taken to be the highest
degree of Medieval Leather Craftsmanship attained in the
late middle ages. The article is probably the best discussion
of decorative styles of leatherwork and cuir bouilli to be found.
I know a scale case isn't exactly a box but:
Scull, Christopher, with many assorted other authors: Excavation
and Survey at Watchfield, 1983-32; Arch. Journal 149, 1992,
pp.124-281. Includes many photographs and drawings of an early
Anglo-Saxon Cemetery and it’s inhabitants and their possessions
from the Vale of the White Horse. Some finds are neolithic to
medieval, one is 1700’s knife handle, other finds include
glass and bone beads, brooches, weapons, shield rivets,
handles and umbos, a deteriorated leather scabbard and a
scale case made of leather with scales and weights and
inscription, cauldron bits and fittings, tweezers, knives,
buckles, saucer brooches and one’s construction, ear spoon,
square headed brooches, amber, dress pins, skeletal
remains with analysis, remains of horn handle for sword,
electron pictures of grooves cut in carnelian by a bow drill,
reconstructions of the pattern welded sword blades (similar to
Sutton Hoo but not quite as complex, nine page bibliography.
Most things are drawn and not photographed in the text.
Excellent coverage of most materials and discussions of
specific fields of items by specialists.
Scurlock, William, ed.: Muzzleloader Magazine's Book of Buckskinning
VII; Scurlock Publishing Co., Texarkana, TX, 1995,
Contains an excellent post period article on the "Goods of the
Trunkmaker and His Trade" by Steven M. Lalioff, pp 198-221.
Descriptions and photographs of original trunks, deed boxes, and
chests. Also see plates VII-XII. By someone who has a large
collection and remakes them.
Singer, Charles, et al: A History of Technology, Volume II, 1956,
Oxford. Covers the Mediterranean Civilization and the Middle Ages.
Has a whole chapter on leather by Waterer. Includes cofferers.
Snyder, W.E.: The Leathercraftsman. A Textbook on Leatherwork ;
Worchester: American Handicrafts, (1936). cloth, gilt lettering,
176pp., Includes; A Brief History of Leather, Leathercraft
Through the Ages, Construction and Decorating, Tools, Lacing,
Steps in making a leathercraft article etc., etc.,
Society of Antiquaries of London : Archaeologia; or, Miscellaneous
Tracts Relating to Antiquity; published by the Society of
Antiquaries of London; Volume CVII, London, 1982, pp.222,
text-illustrations, plates. Includes: Swords and sequence
in the British Bronze Age; Anglo-Saxon Glass claw-beakers;
Anglo-Saxon button brooches; The sanctuary ring of Durham
Cathedral; The Talbot Casket and Related Late Medieval
Leather Caskets by John Cherry; The stained glass of the
chapel of the Vyne and the Chapel of the Holy Ghost,
Basingstoke; Ightham Mote: politics and architecture in
Early Tudor England.
Stohlman, Al: The Art of Hand Sewing Leather; 1977,
Tandy Leather Co., Ft. Worth, TX.
Stohlman, Al and Ann: The Art of Making Leather Cases Volume 1-2-3 ;
1979, Tandy Leather Co., Ft. Worth, TX.
Stohlman, Al: Coloring Leather, 1985, Tandy Leather Co., Ft. Worth, TX.
Stohlman, Al: How to Carve Leather, 1952, Craftool Co., Ft. Worth, TX.
Tandy Leather, various dates. Modern techniques.
Underhill, Roy: [Video] The Williamsburg Trunkmaker. Woodwright's Shop
Series. WUNC-TV, Chapel Hill, NC. Mostly on other techniques of
hand leatherwork but includes some discussion of chests and coffers,
notably including that the wood was not nailed together but
glued until the tacks holding the leather were driven in.
Waterer, John William. "Irish Book-Satchels or Budgets";
Medieval Archaeology, Vol. XII, 1968, pp. 70-82.,
13pp, 4figs, 4 b/w plates IV-VII.
Waterer, John W.: "Leather" in Connoiseur Period Guides - Tudor
1500-1603. Edited by Ralph Edwards, Reynal and Company,
New York, No Date, 60's-70's? Leather Chapter is
pp.149-59 plus plates. Includes forcers, chests, saddle,
gloves, buff tunic, Paten box, prayer book casket,
leather lantern, flasks, bottells, bookcover, leather
bedcover, on plates 81-4.
Waterer, John William: Leather and Craftsmanship; Faber & Faber LTD.,
London, 66pp, 32 pls, 1950.
Waterer, John William: Leather Craftsmanship; Frederick A. Praeger,
Publishers, New York and Washington, 1968. Published in England
by G. Bell and Sons, Ltd., London. Better than below for this
purpose. Has a chapter that discusses leather boxes and some
of the manner of their construction.
Waterer, John W: Leather in Life, Art and Industry; London.
Faber & Faber Ltd.; 1946. 320 pp., Frontis, 110 plates, & a
further 20 illustrations in the text. With forewords by Sir Charles
Tennyson and George W. Odey. "An outline of its preparation and
uses in Britain yesterday and today together with some reflections
on its place in the world of synthetics tomorrow." Brief mentions
Waterer, John William. "A Historical Forcer."; Connoisseur 134 (1954):
189-191. A Forcer is a casket.
Waterer has another on Spanish Leather that is supposed to include
it's use on caskets but it is primarily concerned with
embossed late period leather used on walls, furniture, etc.
Will that do for a start? I'm afraid I don't have any more time to
search through diverse tomes today... :)
(c) Master Magnus Malleus, OL, GDH
Windmasters' Hill, Atlantia
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