Thursday, June 10, 2010
Lady's London Shoe, 1720-1740
Photograph: Ellen McDermott Photography
Collection: Strawbery Banke Museum
Featured: Passion for Fashion, Strawbery Banke Museum and Rowland Gallery, May 1st 2012-October 31st, 2012
The lady’s shoe pictured above is a brocaded silk with a polychrome floral motif, set against a cream background. It is trimmed with a narrow green braid, lined with linen and has a leather sole. Note the upturned pointed toe, and the thick and weighty heel. When taken together, the shoe has an elegant profile and pleasing dimensions distinctive of high style London fashion of the early decades of the 18th century.
There are two distinguishing elements associated with the shoe: First is the custom-made patten for the shoe, of a quality which is a rare find, designed to protect the shoe when worn out of doors. Second is the survival of a partial interior label reading in part “James Davis. Shoe Makers. Near Utgate(?). London.” Foot apparel (it cannot really be considered “footwear” in our current vernacular) not unlike this model, would have been found in fashionable seacoast cities from Charleston and Philadelphia, to Baltimore, Newport, Boston and Portsmouth.
Taken as an art object alone, the shoe exhibits a strong profile, intense color, multi layered textures, and a clear sense of design. Even as this London-fabricated shoe celebrates its 3rd century, its style is compelling to the contemporary viewer and alluring to all who have wanted to feel the graciousness of past eras in their own time – an excellent possibility for inspiring contemporary designers.
Dimensions: 9.5” long with a 2.5” heel