Making a Leather Purse With a Brass Frame – pt 2

I used deer hide for the leather. “Dress Accessories” documents the use of deer hide in purses.[1]

The use of a decorative plaque on the purse lid is illustrated historically by the Sutton Hoo purse. In the case of the Sutton Hoo purse lid, the decorative pieces are set with solid inlay garnets and milifiori.  The decorative pieces were riveted to the lid.[2] I chose to make an enameled roundel and rivet it to the purse lid. The design for the roundel was copied from the St. Mathew page of the Book of Kells.[3] Designs of this type were commonly incorporated into jewelry and other items, both enameled and plain.[4] I chose an Irish design because a considerable quantity of loot from Ireland ended up as jewelry in Viking graves. The reuse and reworking of looted items was extremely common. [5]

In the case of the Sutton Hoo lid the stiffness was provided by a sheet of ivory – something that was not on my shopping list, so I settled for a thin sheet of birch, which I covered with leather. I chose birch because it was a commonly used hardwood in period and is dimensionally stable. I chose NOT to cover the inside of the lid because I felt that the interior of the pouch would not have been considered important enough to waste a lot of effort on. Things like rivets and peaned over nails often show on the back in period crafts.

-But wait! There’s more coming!

[1] Egan, p. 342

[2] Evans, p. 96

[3] Cirker, p. 10

[4] Campbell, p.65, Meehan, p. 18

[5] Campbell, p. 177,  Almgren, p. 50, 213