Nomadic Museum of Leathercraft on move to permanent home at Northampton Park Museum

By Verity Hogan | 31 March 2010
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A photo of a coat and other items made of leather

(Above) (Clockwise, from top left) Somerset Saddle (1850s), Buff Leather Doublet (late 16th century), Heart-Shaped Flask (17th century), Fishing Creel (1850)

One of the world's finest collections of leather has found a permanent home at Northampton Park Museum.

The Museum of Leathercraft has been without a fixed residence for a number of years, but the majority of its pieces, which have been held in storage, will be unveiled when the Museum re-opens in April.

A photo of black drinking vessels made of leather

Leather Black Jacks and Bombard vessels and a small jug, wet-molded in heavy hide (17th to 19th century)

The collection boasts more than 5,000 objects, including an array of historic sporting objects, luggage through the ages, an 18th-century sedan chair and a selection of saddlery.

Since its creation in 1946 the museum has built a showcase of fine craftsmanship and design in leather. It continues to grow, commissioning or buying a new piece of contemporary leatherwork every year since 1978.

A photo of a sculpted torso on a stand made with brown leather

Leather Torso (1999). Leather sculpture in two parts by Whittikar and Malam, made in vegetable-tanned calfskin, wet moulded and stitched, over supporting formers.A Waterer/Spiers commission

The move to Northampton ties in with the town’s historical connection to the leader industry.

"Our town has a rich industrial heritage and our shoe industry is still producing high quality leather shoes and products," said Councillor Paul Varnsverry, council cabinet member for museums.

"We have one of the most outstanding collections of shoes in the world and our association with the Museum of Leathercraft goes back many years. Providing them with a home is a very welcome development in our long-standing relationship."

A photo of an ornate vase made of leather against a red background

Painted vase moulded from the bladder of a camel from Moultan, Pakistan (mid-19th century)

Nick Madeley, chairman of the Museum of Leathercraft, praised the council for their role in the move.

"We very much look forward to working with them so that more people will get to see this fine collection," he added.

"We are so pleased to be offered this opportunity to display some of the great artefacts we have in such a wonderful setting."

All photos © the Museum,

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