Gilt Leather Alter for the St Peter church of Vic-Fezensac

Regularly we are asked to supply Gilt leather for alter pieces (Antependium).

As here in the St Peter church of Vic Fezensac.

The four sides of the alter are covered with leather.


Front covered with Marot


The back being covered with Abondance

The sides are covered with our Lauderdale.

This is a small alter which allows easy picking-up and re-positioning.




Hope you enjoyed this

As Always



Gilt Leather At Levens Hall, cuir de cordoue, goudleer, guadamecies, kinkarakawa

MD37027 PG26

Gilt Leather at Levens Hall

The Parrot Panel .

In the late eighties we were introduced to Michael Abbott who became our UK agent, a real gentleman and one of these few without whom we wouldn’t be around making gilt leather any longer.

Shortly after we met, Michael introduced us to a famous Pimlico Road antiques dealer and decorator, the man himself a nonchalant, laid-back, aristocratic aura.
The showroom, loaded with a mix of unusual objects and top antiques, a harmonious, calculated, masculine chaos.

All things I like. To me an interior has to have the three A’s, Antiques Art Architecture without these its … complicated to make something interesting, imposing or even joyful. Imposing as I believe one becomes humble and relax in the presence a genial mix of the three A’s.

We were asked to reproduce a design which he had in his archives, having agreed on terms we went happily to work.
Once the mould ready, cast in bronze and impossible to handle. The modest production started.
It was the first time we set eyes on this design, but than again there are so many designs dating from this period. And research in these days was …..well different, not with the click of the mouse !

When supplied, part of the panels were used to line the walls of the showroom window. No pictures available, yet for us something never to forget.

Working on the archive material provided by our client we noted some irregularities in the background ornament, so far so good.

Later we came across this design as it appeared in an article about a restoration of the ancient gilt leather of the Deanery in Zele Belgium a small town nearby our hometown Ghent.

A closer examination of the design in Zele allowed us to conclude that it was not only the same design but that the leathers were printed on the same mould as they have same irregularities. Thus originating from the same workshop. Besides this, one could see from the quality of the gilding and the way they were painted that they originate from the same workshop

All well, till this very same design appeared in several English movies and series  , “the Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Wives and Daughters and many others all shot at Levens Hall. Stylistically its the same panel from the same workshop, a closer look at the background ornament shows the same marks, they were embossed on the same mould !



Levens Hall gilt leather restored by the Leather Conservation Center Northampton UK

Remarkable here is that this design was issued by one gild leather workshop, as we know that some designs were produced by almost all the gilt leather workshops. The quality of the work makes this workshop a good one, this also is to be noted as some workshops were not very much regarding to the quality of their work.

At the end of the day the question that remains is where was this design produced.
Two locations in the UK against one in Flanders do not tell the story.
One thing is for sure, the workshop produced quality leathers.

The reproductions made for the eccentric antiques dealer ? Made in Ghent, Flanders.


Parrot 75 X 59 cmThe Parrot Panel reproduction by Lutson

 Left, the original panel, right the reproduction by Lutson

Tulips on Hodsoll panelThe tulips in this panel were painted in two different ways here the other version on a pale gilded ground


As Always


Heerenveen “Tuymelaarhuis” Gilt Leather / Goudleer / Cuir de Cordoue

Tuymelaarhuis Heerenveen


Mr. Wiebren Dijkstra

Hanging onto his paint brush on his shaky scaffold.

Without Wiebren this project would not have seen daylight.

Thank you, Wiebren !

This house goes back to the 16th century and was modified during the course of time,

the last remodeling was around 1750.

It always amazes me to see buildings this old in such good condition, typical northern Europe !

The more you wander to the south the quicker buildings seem to wear.

Our place dates form 1850 and was sort of a ruin already.


Here the order is well on its way,

the flowers were painted in the 18th century tradition.

The leathers painted and hanging to dry before the antiquing is applied.

The colours and the gilding were made to the customers specifications.





 Dutch professional magazine Eisma’s published an editorial on the subject.

It shows the trimming and gluing of the leathers.

A rare opportunity to practice your Dutch….


Wiebren assited by Pauline Kaan


The indisputable proof that hanging the leathers is easy and fun !




A link to Wiebren Dijkstra ‘s site.

Thank you for reading me.

Best Wishes


More Swedish Baroque Chairs

For those who follow the blog, you surly have found several postings about our Swedish distributors Annika and Leif Arvidsson form Lages AB. As upholsterers they work for antiques dealers, museums and whom ever wishes to have their chairs done by expert hands.
Earlier this year we worked with them on a large set of Baroque chairs.

  The whole set of chairs

G2Your educated eye will note that there are 2 different models of chairs.

This pair is 18 century Swedish baroque.


This one here is a late 19th century Swedish Baroque chair.

G4Obviously this is a more elaborated  sort of Baroque.

The Chairs have been upholstered with a design form our collection the “Abondance”

Annika & Leif have upholstered a set of chairs for the Hallwyl museum Stockholm we made the reproductions of the leather they needed using the original embossing plate owned by the museum. Swedish television made a reportage about the story and the upholstery work done in the studios of Lages AB.  But at first, Annika shows how patiently she makes her own Gilt Leather…..

Enjoy, its time to exercise your Swedish

As Always


Sample panels soon to be seen in Paris


Here a good example of a strictly monochrome panel.

One background color painted on an antiqued silvered ground.

The Dragon form our collection dates originally from the 1750’s.

Besides being a rococo design it is worth to note,

  that it is a good and life giving female dragon.

There will also be a

Moncla Polychrome


Here we have a full polychrome panel.

The background paint is sort of bottle green on a flat Silver-gilded ground.

The Moncla is a great classic design probably by Daniel Marot

circa 1720

As Always


Meet our Parisian distributor: Marchand Mercier

New Distributor:

Marchand Mercier Creation & Diffusion

18 Rue St Louis en l’ile

75004 Paris

01 55 42 00 88

Isabelle Husson will be happy see you in her “Ile  Saint Louis” showroom.

During Maison & Object and Paris Deco Off,

the Marchand Mercier showroom will be transformed into an open gallery.

If you happen to be in Paris don’t miss this event.

Friday 23, Saturday 24 and Monday 26

from 9h30 AM till 7 PM



Polychrome Moncla: Gilt Leather, Cuir de Cordoue

Moncla as  replacement for a worn Gilt Leather seat.

The original leather seat was send to the workshop, it’s always better to have the archive material to see the details

and try to capture the right feel of the panel.


 Thus our Swedish Annika From Lages AB removed the Gilt Leather seat and  made a secure box for shipping.

This 18th century design is interesting  because there is no painted the background.

We are looking at a panel that has polychrome highlights on a gilded ground.

This reduces the interaction of colours which results in a quieter, less dramatic, panel.

We have seen more of these yet the “norm” would be that the background is painted,

in addition to the polychrome highlights and the gilded ground.

They decided to do it differently….. Hey ! This is a free world.


The gilding as an approximation and its, believe me the hardest thing to get right.

All polychrome work in the spirit of the 18th century sample panel.

Some details for you appreciate.




As Always,


Gilt Leather Verentuil on Swedish Baroque Chairs


 I’ve always thought that this sort of Swedish Baroque chair has a strong

Spanish influence.

   It’s through, my knowledge on the subject being limited,

Perhaps you, Dear Reader

can shed some light on this puzzling question.

So far this is, in a nutshell, what I read :

 Apparently our Scandinavian friends didn’t invent their own style.

Instead they copied chairs, removed the excess of clutter and thus,

…… created their own style.

Lages Ab, Our Swedish distributor and talented upholsterer

ordered some Goudleer (giltleather) for a customer whom had chosen

an unusual version of our Verentuil

A specific polychrome paint on a dominant Silvery Mother of Pearl ground.

I had my doubts.

Having seen the chairs these doubts have faded.

Judge for yourself



Best Wishes


Antependium or Gilt leather Altarpiece in the church of Mont

Finaly, here some pictures of the Antependium of the church of Mont


Verentuil Antependium they have chosen “blend in colours”

Mont is located in the French department of the Hautes Pyrenées

Way in the mountains close to the Spanish Border


The interior of the church is just restored, it took a team of three painters  two years

to restore the wall paintings.

The Church of st Bartolomeo was build in the 12 century and  embellished as time passed by.

Last added was the altarpiece at the end of the 17th century


Next to the alter my friend Alain Lacoste from Atelier 32 the excellent restorers whom took care of the altarpiece


amazingly enough the old altarpiece, which was a painted fresco type altarpiece was conserved behind the “new” sculpted altarpiece.

Mont is tiny village of less than 100 inhabitants, in the 80’s they were less than 20 inhabitants !

Yet, amidst this little community they build this treasure.


Yours Truly