Case (étui) with an amorous inscription

Date: 1450–1500

Geography: Made in Italy

Culture: Italian

Medium: Leather (Cuir bouilli), wood core, red cord

Dimensions: Overall (case only): 8 1/4 x 3 1/8 x 3 1/4 in. (20.9 x 8 x 8.2 cm)
Overall (with strap extended): 15 9/16 x 3 1/8 x 3 1/4 in. (39.6 x 8 x 8.2 cm)

Classification: Leatherwork

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1950

Accession Number: 50.53.1


The inscription in relief on the leather—"In good faith, I love you with a true heart" (the word "heart" is represented by a heart shape)—shows that this case was a love token or betrothal gift. Made from the stiffened leather known as cuir bouilli, it probably was made to carry writing tools. Similar cases can be seen in painted representations of scholars' studios, or studioli; one appears in an intarsia panel from the studiolo of Federico da Montefeltro, originally installed in his palace in Gubbio and now displayed in the Museum.