Blue leather in the 14th century.
- Hi. Can anyone tell me if they had the means to dye leather blue
in the 14th century? I know they had blue fabric dye but what about
leather? And, if so, can anyone give me some sources? Thanks.
- --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "Chuck" <chrometanned@y...> wrote:
> Hi. Can anyone tell me if they had the means to dye leather blueGreetings!
> in the 14th century? I know they had blue fabric dye but what about
> leather? And, if so, can anyone give me some sources? Thanks.
I can't help with the fourteenth century; the closest I can come is a
book that contains some recipes for dyeing blue leather, from 1548.
It's an Italian dyer's manual called The Plictho, by Giovanni Rossini.
The following translations are by Sidney M. Edelstein and Hector C.
Here's a recipe for light blue:
"171. Measure indigo one pound, and alum of lees one ounce. Set to
boil on the fire and let it become tepid, this mixture embodying with
as much water so it be not too much. When it has made your dye, let it
cool. Be advised that this dye is for fifteen skins, and for each
fifteen skins, goes this much dye."
And for azure:
"179. Measure indigo one ounce and whiting one quarter ounce. Crush
each thing together and make a paste. Then add to it a litle honey and
incorporate and extend the said things with hot water. Give it to your
skins with the bristle or the brush and it becomes a very beautiful
azure. If it is too little give it one hand and give it two hands."
(The "hand" thing is mentioned in other recipes, and seems to mean,
another pass or two of the brush."
"188. Measure eight ounces of very strong lye, eight ounces of white
live lime, sixteen ounces of clear fountain water, a spoonful of olive
oil, one ounce of white of egg so that it all makes a bucket of stuff.
Put these things on the fire and make them warm up. When they are
tepid take three quarti of fine indigo, of Baghdad, and grind it well
in the manner of brasilio, and see that it be well in powder. When you
have given it one boil take it from the fire, and stir with a stick,
and then put on the cover. Do not allow it to breathe and let it stay
thus and save it. When you want to use it make it boil six hours and
should it boil twelve hours it would be better. With this water you
can dye any skin that is dressed for dyeing. Nail your skin and dye it
in that water. Then take fine indigo, finely ground and dust it with a
cloth over the skin to which you have given on e or two hands of that
said dye. Then run over all your skins so that they are well colored
evenly in the manners observed. With a little common oil go rubbing
your skins. Again wet your cloth in the water above said and rub, and
then wet with that water the said skin. Allow your skins to dry and if
it is is not well colored, remove away the color so that it is perfect."
There are several other recipes for blue-dyed leather, one which uses
woad. Further recipe numbers for dyeing blue leather are: 189, 191,
200, 208, 210.
Keep in mind that these recipes won't necessarily work as well with
modern chemically tanned leather.
- Rossetti's Plicto has a recipe for blue leather. I
believe that's 1548 though. There might be something
in The Goodman of Paris... but I'm at work and it's at