Pair of Shoe Buckles thumbnail 1
Pair of Shoe Buckles thumbnail 2
+2
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Pair of Shoe Buckles

ca. 1792-1806 (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.

Leather inserts for buckles were used from the mid 1780s onwards on men's buckles. As fastenings became more complicated black leather became a convenient covering for new mechanisms. By the 1790s black patent leather was also very fashionable for buckles. The fastenings on the buckles are stamped: BOULTON & SMITHS PATENT. The patent was granted to James Smith in 1792 and operated in conjunction with Matthew Boulton. Famed for his partnership with engineer James Watt, whom he assisted in the development of the steam engine, Boulton was also notable for the high quality of the silver, Sheffield plate and other metalwork produced at his Soho factory on the outskirts of Birmingham.


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

  • Shoe Buckle
  • Shoe Buckle
Materials and Techniques
Cut steel and leather
Brief Description
Pair of shoe buckles, cut steel, leather, made by James Smith at the Soho Manufactory, Birmingham, about 1792-1806
Physical Description
Pair of shoe buckles, cut steel, leather, decorated with a faceted beaded rim and leather covered centre. The fastening is stamped, 'BOULTON & SMITHS PATENT'.
Dimensions
  • Height: 1.25in
  • Width: 2.375in
Marks and Inscriptions
'BOULTON & SMITHS PATENT' (Fastening, stamped)
Credit line
Given by Mr René de l'Hôpital
Object history
The fastening is stamped: BOULTON & SMITHS PATENT. The patent was granted to James Smith in 1792 and operated in conjucntion with Matthew Boulton of the Soho Manufactory in Birmingham.
Subjects depicted
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.



Leather inserts for buckles were used from the mid 1780s onwards on men's buckles. As fastenings became more complicated black leather became a convenient covering for new mechanisms. By the 1790s black patent leather was also very fashionable for buckles. The fastenings on the buckles are stamped: BOULTON & SMITHS PATENT. The patent was granted to James Smith in 1792 and operated in conjunction with Matthew Boulton. Famed for his partnership with engineer James Watt, whom he assisted in the development of the steam engine, Boulton was also notable for the high quality of the silver, Sheffield plate and other metalwork produced at his Soho factory on the outskirts of Birmingham.
Collection
Accession Number
M.187&A-1926

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record createdJune 9, 2005
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