In case anyone’s wondering what I’ve been up to…

… there’s an account over on the National Leather Collection blog.


Hedeby quiver erratum

In what should probably come as a surprise to nobody, I made an error in my translation of the original German report. The carrying lugs attach “…at about one-third of the height… (…auf etwa einem Drittel der Höhe…)”. I’d taken that as the full height of the quiver and put them at 20cm/8″ down. They should be at one-third of the height of that front panel at 16cm/6.3″ from the top.

I’ll correct the first post when I get a chance.

Big Book Erratum – Chapter 5, Luggage

In the Big Book on p53, I feature an illustration from John Waterer’s Leather in Life, Art and Industry, with, what in my defence I will point out is Waterer’s original caption.


English travelling trunk of pinewood covered with cowhide, ornamented with brass studs. Second half of the 17th century. 

It transpires that it is a Queen Anne chest, reputedly Queen Anne’s chest (1702-1714) and dates from the first quarter of the eighteenth century. A contemporary chest of drawers appeared on Antiques Roadshow in 2013 and has more recently been authenticated.

Note the similarity of the bunch of grapes on both this chest and the Roadshow one.

Click to view the clip:

The Stonyhurst Gospel

The British Library’s Medieval manuscripts blog had a cracker at the end of June on the St Cuthbert or Stonyhurst Gospel.

I’ve talked about the binding before in my post on another Saxon quiver, now they’ve managed to do CT scans of the binding and covers. It looks like the tree design was worked into a mould from the back, then the design was filled with clay to keep the shape. The technique is the same as the one I used for my costrel all those years ago.

The raised straight lines that frame the tree and knotwork are worked over cord, but I have my suspicions that the groove may have been started from the back with the seventh eighth century equivalent of a butter knife and plastic rule, the cord put in place before the cover was stuck to the board and the line finally worked down from the front. You can see where they’ve overshot with the butter knife in the corners. Emboss the knotwork and paint to taste.

Cuthbert covercropped.jpg Back cover of St Cuthbert Gospel

The back is entirely butter knife work.

Meanwhile, in Vindolanda…

They’ve found a panel from a Roman tent.

Another Mindum Catalogue update

It’s been 11 months since my last update, I’ve found a bit of new information since then.

  • Added previously unpublished 1600 Hinson Shoehorn, linked to my blog post describing the horn and Flikr account with the images.

This shouldn’t be news to anybody who’s read any of the posts here.

  • Additional 1912 reference to Bridget Dearsley’s shoe horn of 1605 in the Saffron Waldon Museum.

A note from Guy Williams asking if there has been any new information found about Mindum since Sir John Evans first posed the question in 1877. I think he’d be happy with my catalogue.  Notes and Queries 11th Series. Volume V. January-June 1912. No 6, January 6, 1912, p8.

  • Added the extant inscription from the 1612 …umer shoe horn.

Not sure how I missed this one, a gorilla must have hit me on the head while I was drunk.

  • Added link to Sophie Cope’s Marking Design Part 2: Objects in the Sea of Time which mentions the 1597 Will’yam horn and discusses the how the inscription on the 1600 Hinson horn contributes to both context and significance. The thumbnail link on 1597 Will’yam horn now goes to Sophie’s photograph, the previous Christie’s Lot Finder link is still in the text.

I’ve written to Sophie asking for permission to use her photo as the thumbnail for this horn. There hasn’t been a response to date.

  • Added descriptive portions of the text of the Agecroft Hall blog post to the 1613 Jane Mindum shoehorn.

The Agecroft Hall blog has been taken down, so I’ve reproduced the relevant text.

  • Added CC license link below and the header and footer detail.  Where an entry spans a page break, added an indication at the top of the next page showing which horn is being discussed.
  • Added bibliography and reading list.

Just housekeeping and usability improvements, the pagination has also been adjusted to try to keep the information on each horn together. There have been a few places where people have reused the information but had trouble attributing it.

The catalogue is at

I’m chasing a possible Mindum shoehorn that was last reported as being in the York Castle Museum in 1981. I’ll let you know how it works out.