Shagreen Stool or Side Table

   Shagreen stool or side table
  Shagreen stool or side table

This piece is covered in shagreen, shark skin leather. An American newspaper once reported that shagreen is the most expensive material applied to furniture. We’re not sure this is so, but it is clearly valuable. It was first popularized by a French master leather worker in the court of Louis XV; however, it cannot be said with certainty if the French imported the use of shagreen from Asia or the other way around. By the mid-18th century it was popular all over Europe, finally falling out of favor – at least in the Western World - after the First World War.

Shagreen stool or side table (detail)   

In the East, it was always regarded as a rarity, a material best applied, at least in this case, to the seat of one’s pants or the top of one’s table. While its origin is exotic, its color pleasing, and its purpose debatable, it is the material from which it is made that makes it memorable.

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