Cordoue Incredible Find

17th century Cordoue Incredible Find


I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this flawless fragment of Cordoue Wrought Leather.

Standing there starring at it, as if to say, "How did that land at a fleamarket?"


"Leather wallpaper is a type of wallpaper used in various styles for wall covering. It is often referred to as wrought leather. It is often gilded, painted, and decorated. With the advent of wallpaper use from about 1650-1750, leather was used to cover and decorate sections of walls in the habitations of wealthy persons. Leather is pliable and could be decorated in various ways."

The first time I saw cordoue leather was back in 1990 in the entrance hall of my 90-year-old neighbor's home in Marseille. Madame L. was gracious and her home was full of incredible Louis sixteen furnishings. As soon as I walked into her home my French antique history lessons started the moment my eyes asked, "What is this?" Standing in the entrance I was surrounded by leather cordoue depicting the four seasons, a few Louis sixteen armchairs, and a small chest of drawers with an Imari bowl filled with rock crystal decanter stoppers.



17th century Cordoue Incredible Find


"Cuir de Cordoue, or cordwain or cordovan (meaning: "from Cordudo"), sometimes called gold leather (from Dutch "goudleer"), refers to painted and gilded  (and often embossed) leather hangings, manufactured in panels and assembled for covering walls as an alternative to tapestry. These terms are mostly used for historical and antique materials."

Imagine the surprise I had to see this piece just hanging out with some books, CDs, second-hand no label brand clothes, and toys mostly plastic.

How in the world does that happen? Everyday actually. The old world ushers in the new leaving us a few traces of how it used to be.

No hashtags, no signature, no "I created this first", instead just a fragment of historical everyday beauty without a trace of who created it, nor what they did the night it was completed. If they were artisans they probably had a bowl of soup, some bread, a chunk of cheese, and a glass of wine.


17th century Cordoue Incredible Find


17th century Cordoue Incredible Find


"Cuir de Cordoba was usually made of fine leather; often calf skins were used. The technique consisted of shaping panels of wet leather over wooden molds, then painting them, then oil-gilding and lacquering them. Sometimes smooth panels of painted Cuir de Cordoue were used. "Patterns for these panels followed fashions in silk damask, at some lag in time, since the high-relief wooden molds were laborious to make. After the second half of the 18th century, this luxurious artisan product was no longer made,[8] its place was taken in part by chintz hangings and printed wallpapers. In the eighteenth-century Chinoiserie patterns were popular with Cuir de Cordoue." via wiki



17th century Cordoue Incredible Find


Madame L.'s cordoue was donated to a museum I was told. But in my mind's eye, it is in the entrance hall where Chelsea (five months old) is sitting on the floor with the Imari bowl full of glass decanter stoppers putting them in her mouth, Madame L. is pleased that they are being used for something. (Her son, Father L., years later would celebrate the sacrament of marriage with Chelsea and Martin.)



17th century Cordoue Incredible Find

Back at the flea market, I asked the vendor for his phone number.

I do not need this piece.

It is more expensive than everything gather at the fleamarket combined- books, CDs, second-hand no-label brand clothes,

and toys mostly plastic ...

The vendor knows what this piece is.


I do not need it.


But gee the damn brocante just keeps biting.

At least I have some photos, a phone number and a new memory to attach to Madame L's lesson book.

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28 April 2015

French la Vie Creative Journeys in France. Please join me in 2020 to learn more click here
French La Vie started in 2005, I have the "Brocante Bug" which means antiquing is my cure, France can do me no wrong when it comes to treatment ° 32 years living in France with my French Husband that I met while dancing in San Francisco ° Two children, now in their late-twenties, amour et joie ° Come join our journey either vicariously through my blog, or on a French La Vie Week Retreat in Provence °
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