Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

This object consists of 2 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Pair of Shoe Buckles

ca. 1776-1820 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Gold or silver buckles for shoes were in fashion for most of the 18th century. They gave the finishing touches to elegant dress and were one of the few pieces of jewellery worn by men as well as women. Gentlemen wore matching shoe and knee buckles.

Making buckles became a highly skilled craft at which English silversmiths and jewellers excelled. Exquisitely wrought designs, glittering pastes and precious stones reflected the status of the wearer as well as the occasion. Cheaper and plainer versions were made of steel, brass and other metal alloys.

This buckle features jasperware plaques mounted on cut steel – a brightly polished steel, usually with pierced or faceted decoration, which was popular from around the 1760s to the 1880s. Jasperware is a very fine-grained white stoneware that can be stained a range of colours. It was developed in the 1770s by the ceramic entrepreneur Josiah Wedgwood, who sought to break into the cameo market by making small medallions of coloured jasperware with white relief.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Shoe Buckle
  • Buckle
Materials and Techniques
Cut steel mounted with jasperware plaques
Brief Description
Cut steel with jasper cameos made by Wedgwood, England, about 1776-1820
Physical Description
Shoe buckle, cut steel mounted with jasperware plaques probably by Josiah Wedgwood. The buckles with rounded corners, decorated with rows of facetted bosses. In the centre of each side, a blue and white Wedgwood cameo with a beaded bezel; steel chape.
Dimensions
  • Length: 8.6cm
  • Width: 7.87cm
  • Depth: 3.02cm
Marks and Inscriptions
No marks
Credit line
Pfungst Reavil Bequest
Summary
Gold or silver buckles for shoes were in fashion for most of the 18th century. They gave the finishing touches to elegant dress and were one of the few pieces of jewellery worn by men as well as women. Gentlemen wore matching shoe and knee buckles.



Making buckles became a highly skilled craft at which English silversmiths and jewellers excelled. Exquisitely wrought designs, glittering pastes and precious stones reflected the status of the wearer as well as the occasion. Cheaper and plainer versions were made of steel, brass and other metal alloys.



This buckle features jasperware plaques mounted on cut steel – a brightly polished steel, usually with pierced or faceted decoration, which was popular from around the 1760s to the 1880s. Jasperware is a very fine-grained white stoneware that can be stained a range of colours. It was developed in the 1770s by the ceramic entrepreneur Josiah Wedgwood, who sought to break into the cameo market by making small medallions of coloured jasperware with white relief.
Bibliographic Reference
Stemp, Sinty, "Ornamental or Useful: A Cut Steel Chatelaine by Boulton and Wedgwood", The Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, Vol. 17, June 2009, ISSN. 1359124X, p. 11, ill.
Collection
Accession Number
M.2-1969

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record createdJune 3, 2005
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