This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions), and as such we offer a high-resolution image of it. See our image rights statement.


See more objects with the color darkslategrey darkolivegreen darkolivegreen dimgrey rosybrown or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline


  • We acquired this object.




  • You found it!

Leather (Holland)

This is a Leather. It is dated ca. 1700 and we acquired it in 1903. Its medium is leather, stamped, silvered, painted. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

Though frequently referred to as Spanish or Dutch leathers embossed leather wallcoverings were made all across Europe. The production of embossed leathers was very labor intensive. First, the entire surface of the tanned leather is covered with silver leaf, which is then brushed with a layer of yellow varnish to give it a gold appearance. It is then embossed by turning upside down and pressing into a mold. Lastly, the design is painted on with oils. Embossed leathers were only produced using silver leaf as the guilds were very strict about this and had severe penalties for using other types of metal. The molds used to emboss the leathers were developed in The Netherlands in early 17th C. Prior to that time all leathers were just flat w/ painted designs. This leather fragment contains a central floral motif, which would have been found near the bottom of the leather panel. The surface of the leather has an all-over saw-tooth embossing over which the design is painted.

This object was donated by Eleanor Garnier Hewitt. It is credited Gift of Eleanor Garnier Hewitt.

Our curators have highlighted 6 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Scenic (China)
  • hand painted on handmade paper.
  • Gift of John Judkyn in memory of his mother, Florence Judkyn.
  • 1954-168-1
  • Sidewall, Cosmo
  • flexograph-printed on paper.
  • Gift of abigail*ryan.
  • 2013-60-1

Its dimensions are

H x W: 58.5 x 38.5 cm (23 1/16 x 15 3/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Leather (Holland); leather, stamped, silvered, painted; H x W: 58.5 x 38.5 cm (23 1/16 x 15 3/16 in.); Gift of Eleanor Garnier Hewitt; 1903-12-18

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Hewitt Sisters Collect.

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Leather (Holland) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=9 December 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>