Here we have an old tooled leather portfolio with the Lion of Saint Mark featured front and center. What's surrounding the lion is super ornate as well. I love the look of the Lion mixed with the composition of the old material. It's so muted, yet detailed, and intense. They even pulled off the letter detail on the Bible. Any chap walking into a meeting holding this portfolio will get everyone to sit up at attention.
The ornate folk art comes out of an old Twin Cities estate with many items from the late 1800s and early 1900s. I believe the tooled portfolio is from the late 1800s. Italy. The style can be described as Continental School and/or Arts and Crafts. It's possible this piece is Italian since the Lion of St. Mark is the symbol of Venice,
Here's a couple passages from the Wikipedia page for the Lion of St. Mark:
The Lion of Saint Mark, representing the evangelist St Mark, pictured in the form of a winged lion holding a Bible, is the symbol of the city of Venice and formerly of the Venetian Republic.
St Mark, represented as a lion, is derived from Mark’s description of John the Baptist as "...The voice of the one who cries in the wilderness: Prepare Ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.", which artists compared to a roaring lion. The wings come from Ezekiel 1:10 and the application of the prophet’s vision of four winged creatures to the evangelists. These appear again in Revelation 4:7.
A second connection of St. Mark and lions comes from a tale recounted by Severus Ebn-El-Mokafa: "Once a lion and lioness appeared to John Mark and his father Arostalis while they were traveling in Jordan. The father was very scared and begged his son to escape, while he awaited his fate. John Mark assured his father that Jesus Christ would save them and began to pray. The two beasts fell dead and as a result of this miracle, the father believed in Christ."
Here is the full wikipedia page.
The unique leather portfolio measures 13 1/2" tall, and just over 10" wide. The looks to be lined with brown silk. There is folder on the left inner sleeve. The leather binding strap is detached (see bottom of inner pic). Hopefully that can be reattached. There is patina everywhere, especially on the corner and ends. There is a tear near the left middle binding (see pic). Please see all pics as they are part of the description.
I ship to the continental USA only. Free shipping on the portfolio.
The turn of the century was the Business. Items like this unusual leather portfolio showed the world why craft always wins out. Let the Lion roar, y'all.