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The colour of leather in 1370...

Posted: Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:55 pm
by red_herne
Hi all,

Just wondering, what colour leather dyes were available in 1370? And what colours were available to what rank? (ie, villein, yeoman, retainer and knight)

Cheers, Anthony

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 1:55 pm
by Colin Middleton
Undyed leather, left in the sun and well oiled goes a nice brown colour. That's your basic start for leatherwares. At a slightly higher cost, if you leave iron in contact with wet leather, both go black, making black a fairly cheap colour to get in leather.

If I recall correctly, yellow can be acheived with persion berrys and red with logwood (obviously we're getting more expensive now). You could also get blue and green dyes for leather.

The best leather (for shoes at least) was Cordovan, which was tradionally dyed red.

You could also get white leather by tawing it rather than tanning it.

You could also paint your leather.


What I'm not sure about is what colours were used by who and for what. It's possible that purses were never coloured, but belts always were. Or possibly even the other way round, I really don't know about this. For a guide on that, look a medieval pictures.

All the best.

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:20 pm
by Sophia
Actually red for leather is generally Brazilwood according to Karl Robinson - he is well worth talking to about this subject. He also makes the most wonderful pouches and can advise on appropriate shapes for status, gender and period.

Sophia :D

Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:19 pm
by Colin Middleton
Sophia wrote:Actually red for leather is generally Brazilwood according to Karl Robinson - he is well worth talking to about this subject. He also makes the most wonderful pouches and can advise on appropriate shapes for status, gender and period.

Sophia :D


Sorry, my mistake.

Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:03 pm
by Tod
It depends on what you are going to use the leather for.

The trap many fall into was that leather was nearly always black. Because what is in the museums is black.
Colin is right a good guide is tan to dark brown. With them you can't go wrong really, if you want to go up market go for brighter colours. Pale for dyed, strong for painted.

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:55 am
by Dave Key
From recollection colours in documents may notmean what you think ...

White leather means tawed, generally non-bovine, leather (whittawed) which uses alum and so although it maybe whiteit is not necessarily so.
Black leather is tanned bovine 'finished' leather
Red leather is unfinished leather and so not necessarily 'red' at all.

Fun this isn't it :-)

Cheers
Dave

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:28 am
by John Waller
Dave Key wrote:From recollection colours in documents may notmean what you think ...

White leather means tawed, generally non-bovine, leather (whittawed) which uses alum and so although it maybe whiteit is not necessarily so.
Black leather is tanned bovine 'finished' leather
Red leather is unfinished leather and so not necessarily 'red' at all.

Fun this isn't it :-)

Cheers
Dave


Indeed it can be very confusing when a colour is used to describe the quality of a product IIRC Lincoln Green was not, at least originally, green woolen cloth, but rather a quality of cloth, as was Lincoln Scarlet.

Just because something is described by a colour does not mean it is that colour!

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:37 pm
by Colin Middleton
Thank you Dave,

I'd suspected somethink like that for a couple of years now, but never found anything to support or clarify the suspicion.

That explanes why Cordovan was always red (i.e. unfinshed, rather than dyed a particular colour) and why 'black boots' are always so expensive!

:D

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:05 pm
by gregory23b
However, recipes exist for

red leather

black

green

purple

blue

see the authentic and cheap thread for more comprehensive info


:D