Leather Purse with Brass Frame
History and Materials
My goal was to produce a decorative Viking-style leather purse, with a brass frame, that might have been purchased or stolen by a Viking. The general form of this purse is based on many sources. The use of a metal frame to support the fabric or leather of a purse is common from at least the Sutton Hoo burial (Anglo Saxon 600-900AD) through modern times. I have personally viewed several metal purse frames in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of London, mostly from the 14th and 15th centuries. The general form that I based my purse frame on is a bar with stretchers attached so that they are freely hinged. The purse frames usually have some sort of metal attachment which allows them to be suspended from a chain, strap or chord. I chose to make two metal loops, through which leather straps can be fastened as my method of suspension. The use of leather straps to support a purse is seen in the Sutton Hoo purse and several purses in the Museum of London book – “Dress Accessories”. This type of purse is fairly common in tapestries.
Stay tuned – there’s more on this topic coming!