The adventure of shagreen
The story of shagreen is indeed a succession of twists.
This stingray skin or dogfish, which was used in Japan from the VIII century onwards, arrived in Europe in the seventeenth century by the Dutch counters. It was then used in sheathing and shagreen cases were very popular.
In the nineteenth century, shagreen is no longer trendy which leads to the disappearance of practice and techniques.
In 1910, the Designer Paul Iribe uncovers an old stock of shagreen. He asks his friend Clément Rousseau, a cabinetmaker, to cover a piece of furniture he had designed with these skins. It’s a huge success, a reference for the entire art deco period. All decorators embark on the madness of shagreen.
Nevertheless, due to successive wars, the mastery and use of this beautiful skin disappears once again.
Jérôme Cordié, the founder of Aisthésis, was one of the first to rework shagreen skin in 1985. His research lead him to uncover the traditional techniques of sheathing shagreen and to invent new processes and new finishes. One of his first innovations was the golden samé-nuri finish.
Recognized as a specialist, he is entrusted with the restoration of furniture and Art Deco objects, some of which are in some of the greatest museums in Paris (Rodin, Cognacq Jay, Carnavalet, Decorative Arts, The Louvre …).
Nowadays, Shagreen is popular once again for furniture, leather goods, and fine jewellery.
Japan / VIII – The Japanese where the first to use this material we know as “shagreen” for the sheathing of the handles and sheath of swords, as well as on the “inros”, small medicine boxes, and other small daily use objects
France and Europe / XVIII – Shagreen (le galuchat in French) was named after Jean-Claude Galluchat, Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour’s master leather artisan who introduced this exotic material in France. He used it to dress very fashionable small and precious items.
France and Europe / 1920 / Art Deco – Overlooked in the nineteenth century, shagreen resurfaced during the Art Deco period. Furniture signed by great designers and cabinetmakers such as Paul Iribe, Clement Rousseau, André Groult or Jules Leleu enhanced this exotic material.
France and Europe / 1985 – Shagreen was rediscovered thanks to the cabinetmaker Jérôme Cordié who developed and improved the technique for its use on furniture and leather goods.