Cordwainers & shoe makers
Cordwain, "Cordovan" or "Spanish leather"

Cordwain, once a synonym of cordovan (through Old French cordewan) meaning "from Córdoba" describes painted or gilded embossed leather hangings manufactured in panels and assembled for covering walls as an alternative to tapestry. Such "Cordovan leathers" were a north African style that was introduced to Spain in the ninth century (hence it is sometimes referred to as 'Spanish leather'); in Spain such embossed leather hangings were known as guadamecí or guadamecil, from the Libyan town of Ghadames, while cordobanes signified soft goat leather. Leather was even more proof against draughts and dampness than tapestry, and it was unaffected by insects. From the fourteenth century, the technique in which panels of wet leather were shaped over wooden moulds, painted, then oil-gilded and lacquered, reached Flanders and Brabant in the Low Countries. Though there were craftsmen in several cities (such as Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent), the major handicraft centre for this cordwain was Mechelen, where it was mentioned as early as 1504.

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, its place taken in part by chintz hangings and printed wallpapers. Cordwainer is still used to describe someone in the profession of shoemaking.
Return to index  
Thomas Farmer
about 1845
George H Parker
around 1735?
John Greene
around 1693?
John Long
William Herring
about 1693
Thomas Quelch
about 1924
about 1675
about 1667-1735
about 1665-1725
about 1667-1735
William Shepherd
about 1865
Frederick Franklin
about 1842-?
Ernest Edward Brind
Edgar William Brind