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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 12:41 pm    Post subject: Painted scabbards         Reply with quote

I'm convinced that the chappes of many late 15th/early 16th c. German/Austrian swords had gilt decoration applied either to the plain surface or to enhance tooling. I don't see any other reasonable way to interpret the artwork of the period. But although we see lots of tooled scabbards, I've never seen obvious paint/gilt decoration on a scabbard, even when the sword hilt is very elaborately decorated. Pavises were painted. Other leather goods apparently were painted. What's the story? I'd love to try it if there's any evidence it was done.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean - I raised the same issue a few weeks back after I saw in one of my armour books aillettes of leather that had been painted

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=9033&highlight=

Chad pointed out that the Black Prince's scabbard shows traces of paint
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wouldn't know for sure, put it would seem logical if for no other reason, an oil based paint would be a good way to waterproof leather if it didn't have to be too flexible (like a scabbard.) Otherwise, what would have been a way of gilting leather? Gold leaf is too delicate. Couldn't plate it. Just about the only way it could be done was to use gilt paint. Don't you think?
"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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Mark Shier
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 5:19 pm    Post subject: chapes and scabbards         Reply with quote

I don't see any problem gilding chapes and lockets. A great many 13-15C buckles were gilded.
I don't know about sword scabbards, but many of the surviving leather knife sheaths cry out for paint. They have foliage, interlace, animals and heraldry stamped and engraved on them. On one or two, there are surviving traces of pigment (eg. Knives and Scabbards 479). I've had good luck painting sheaths with medieval pigments tempered in size.
I believe Theophilus (12C) has a technique for leather gilding. Cennini (14-15C) tells how to gild cloth for tournament clothes (it works; I've done it) and leather helmet crests (though these are coated in gesso first). Many leather book covers have gilt decoration.

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Jason Daub




Location: Peace River, Alberta
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean,

Have you looked at "The Hours of Louis XII"? I am currently working on a sword and scabbard inspired by the plate titled "Louis XII of France kneeling in prayer, accompanied by S.S. Michael, Charlemagne, Louis, and Denis".

It shows an armoured King Louis kneeling with a sword around his waist. The majority of the hilt is covered but the cross and pommel are obviously gilt, with what appears to be enamelled decoration in the pommel of three fleur-de-lis on a blue background. The scabbard of the sword is blue with gold fleur-de-lis down the length of it ending in a gilt chape. It never occured to me to think of the fleur-de-lis as anything other than gilt decoration due to the difference in which they are portrayed compared to the fabrics next to it.

'I saw young Harry, -with his bevor on,
His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm'd,-
Rise from the ground like feather'd Mercury,
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus,
And witch the world with noble horsemanship.'
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Sean Flynt
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myArmoury Team

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PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 7:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great stuff! Thanks! I've read about "shell gold," which is gold paint, and I assume that's what was used in these cases. Today I learned a bit about gold tooling, but the source suggested that it didn't make it to Europe until the mid 16th c. It's possible the source means 15th c.--16th seems awfully late. Modern "Gold & Leaf" paint seems to work well on leather. I wonder why we don't see obviously painted scabbards in the German context ca. 1500.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Max W.




Location: South Germany
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Nov, 2009 3:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another lovely Talhoffer curiosity, quite fitting to the theme:



Hans Talhoffer (Thott) 1459

Quote:
28v
Du vergüldest ain krantz mit wissen rosen in disen weg nim
goldpluomen und zerstoß die und nim zerschlagen ayer klar
und gebrenten win und mische die zerstossen bloumen da mit
und besch bestrich die rosen so werdent sy goldvar-


Quote:

You're gilding a coronal of white roses this way take
goldflowers and pound them and take battered glair
and brandy and mix the pound flowers with it
and brush the roses so that they become gilt


The poor man's gilding Happy
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