We've just been to Tetbury's amazing bespoke leatherworkers, MacGregor & Michael, and had a lovely 'show and tell' from Valerie :) She gave a us a piece of leather from 1786. It has the most amazing aroma (musky, tobaccoey, seasalty, perfumey, peaty...just wonderful...sorry, my vegan friends)!
In that year a Danish ship was dashed at Plymouth Sound and sank laden with 'Russia' leather. Divers located the ship - 30m down on the seabed - in 1973, which was claimed as belonging to the Duchy of Cornwall. None of the ship's woodwork survived but the metals (bronze bell included) and leather hides did. The Russia leather was tanned with willow bark, dyed with Brazilian dyes and cured with birch oil and had survived because of those expert St Petersburg tanners. It has distinctive cross-hatching grain patterns on its surface and many of the great Royal houses of the period have leatherwork with the same markings.
If you want a one-off piece of this special leatherwork go and see the remarkable MacGregors...so beautiful. Valerie's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/valerie_michael_/ The business' website: https://macgregorandmichael.com/