In the making since 2018, and based on the antique original, Castle Hill at the Crane Estate has a new headboard for Mr. Crane’s bed that is upholstered in European handmade leather panels.
Based on archival documentation, we know that Mr. Crane had a circa 1700 bed with its headboard covered in two patterns of embossed leather. As part of the Great House interior restoration plan, Castle Hill Curator Susan Hill Dolan commissioned replicas of similar leather panels in order to reproduce a headboard that looks like Mr. Crane’s original. The patterns used for Mr. Crane’s bed can be traced to Flanders circa 1700-1710, but the colors were selected for our specific project based on 1949-1950 inventory descriptions and overall color palette of the room.
The embossed, gilded and hand-painted panels were custom made for us in France by artisans at Lutson Goudleder, manufacturers of gilded leather in the Flemish-Spanish tradition. The decorative history of their designs goes back to 17th century Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands, and their patterns are documented archival designs.
You can find their gilt-leather replicas at institutions worldwide, including Herter Bros. chairs at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and on dining chairs in the Tapestry Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
For more info and images of Lutson Goudleder’s work, go to www.lutson.com or our U.S. supplier for the Lutson panels, Belfry Historic in Beacon, N.Y., at www.belfryhistoric.com. We are also grateful to our talented upholsterer, Bill Wilson, of The Upholstery Shop in Bradford, Mass., who repurposed an earlier headboard and created a new masterpiece for us.