Monday 8 October 1660

Office day, and my wife being gone out to buy some household stuff, I dined all alone, and after dinner to Westminster, in my way meeting Mr. Moore coming to me, who went back again with me calling at several places about business, at my father’s about gilded leather for my dining room, at Mr. Crew’s about money, at my Lord’s about the same, but meeting not Mr. Sheply there I went home by water, and Mr. Moore with me, who staid and supped with me till almost 9 at night. We love one another’s discourse so that we cannot part when we do meet.

He tells me that the profit of the Privy Seal is much fallen, for which I am very sorry. He gone and I to bed.

16 Annotations

First Reading

chris  •  Link

What would be the purpose of "gilded leather" in Sam's dining room? Wall or table decoration? Is this good taste or the conspicuous consumption of an arriviste?

Dirk Van de putte  •  Link

Guilded leather

Guilded leather was a commonly used material in rich people's houses - used as wall covering, very much as we now use wallpaper. It was hugely expensive, but it was good taste. It was quite acceptable (and even expected) to show your wealth in home decoration.

Mary  •  Link

Gilded leather

Thanks to Paul for his reference to such a fascinating site.

Anyone visiting the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam can see examples of early gilded leather, applied to the wall surface in such a way as to look like richly decorated panelling.

helena murphy  •  Link

Neither Sam nor Elizabeth ever seem to have bad taste in anything,leaving aside of course his casual sexual encounters.But Considering Pepys' general subtlety in regard to life,Elizabeth's French background, and the expertise of Sam's father used to entering great houses as a professional tailor ,would indicate to me that they are quite sophisticated in such matters.

Jim  •  Link

If you don't think you can get an invitation to visit the home pictured in the link that Paul Brewster supplied above,
you can still get to see leather wall hangings in person -- On your next visit to Washington be sure to visit the Freer Gallery (part of the Smithsonian complext of museums, it's next to the Smithsonian "Castle") and see the Peacock Room. The room was once the dining room of a wealthy Englishman, now moved to an American museum -- there are beautiful leather wall hangings with peacock designs, various Japanese screens and some paintings by Whistler. I haven't been there in a number of years but I still remember the visual impace of that room. Next time I do visit there I'll try to picture Samuel Pepys having leather wall hangings in his house.

Peter  •  Link

Having read the phrase "my wife being gone out to buy some household stuff", I spent a pleasant few moments musing on how modern this sounded and speculating on what items would be included in this "household stuff" (The Restoration equivalents of Fairy Liquid, Harpic, Brillo Pads etc?). The original meaning of "stuff" I have always understood to be "fabric" or "material". Could the "stuff" here be the wall hangings that have previously been discussed, some other material, or do we think that Sam is using a remarkably modern sounding turn of phrase?

Bullus Hutton  •  Link

We love one another’s discourse so that we cannot part when we do meet...
There he is again, the magnificent naif.
Many of us may feel the same way about someone in this world, but how many amongst us could (or ever do) state it so simply and eloquently?

David A. Smith  •  Link

"We love one another’s discourse ..."
I agree with Bullus; not only is Sam eloquent in his simplicity, anyone who can be so candid to a diary will be similarly facile in person. Since we like those who like us, this honest appreciation (the genuine article of which obsequity is the counterfeit), among his other qualities, will doubtless help him rise.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Gilded leather has its origins in Libya, where it was first developed around the 6th century. By the 9th century it had made it to Spain. It was slow to spread north of the Pyrenees. Eventually it caught on in the Low Countries and became popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.

"Gilded leather is a bit of a misnomer. It's actually leather covered with a silver foil. To keep the silver from oxidizing a varnish was applied that gave it a golden color."…

Bill  •  Link

"to buy some household stuff"

STUFF. [stuffe, Dutch] 1. Any matter or body. Davies. 2. Material out of which any thing is made. Roscommon. 3. Furniture; goods. Hayward, Cowley. 4. That which fills any thing. Shakesp. 5. Essence; elemental part. Shakesp. 6. Any mixture of medicine. Shakesp. 7. Cloth or texture any kind. 8. Textures of wool thinner and slighter than cloth. Bacon. 9. Matter or thing. Dryden.
---A Dictionary Of The English Language. Samuel Johnson, 1768.

william wright  •  Link

Wonderful examples of Gilded Leather wall coverings can be seen in Oxborough Hall Norfolk.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘stuff, n.1 Etym: < Old French estoffe (feminine), material, furniture, provision . .
. . I.h. The furnishing proper to a place or thing; appurtenances, apparatus. Obs.
. . 1427–9 in W. Greenwell Wills & Inventories Registry Durham (1860) II. 75 And I wyl yat ye stuffe of alle myn howses of offices as kychyn panetre and buttre..remayne to my son.
. . a1616 Shakespeare Taming of Shrew (1623) iv. iii. 87 Oh mercie God, what masking stuffe is heere? What's this? a sleeue?. . ‘

An excerpt from a detailed account of the many and various meanings this word can have and has had.

eileen d.  •  Link

gilded leather wall hangings (via google>Wikipedia):

Cuir de Cordoue, or cordwain or cordovan (meaning: "from Córdoba"), sometimes called gold leather (from Dutch "goudleer"), refers to painted and gilded (and often embossed) leather hangings, manufactured in panels and assembled for covering walls as an alternative to tapestry.
Cuir de Cordoba is usually made of fine leather; often calf skins are used. The technique consists of shaping panels of wet leather over wooden moulds, then painting them, then oil-gilding and lacquering them. Sometimes smooth panels of painted Cuir de Cordoue were used.

Patterns for these panels followed fashions in silk damask, at some lag in time, since the high-relief wooden moulds were laborious to make. After the second half of the 18th century, this luxurious artisan product was no longer made,[1] its place taken in part by chintz hangings and printed wallpapers. In the eighteenth century Chinoiserie patterns were popular with Cuir de Cordoue.…

Third Reading

Louise Hudson  •  Link

I wonder what Sam and Elizabeth would have bought if they’d had Amazon

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I doubt Pepys would have agreed to a joint credit card account with Elizabeth. She's only 20, and you know how young people are with money -- I'm surprised he lets her buy a bed without his approval first.

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