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Shoe buckle

  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1780s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Willmore, Thomas (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, steel prong

  • Museum number:

    M.33-1909

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 14, shelf C, box 13

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. By 1790 shoe buckles were falling out of use, except as part of ceremonial or court dress.

This buckle is one of a pair, with Museum no. M.33A-1909.

Physical description

Shoe buckle (one of a pair), silver with steel prong, four sided wavy shape, decorated with an openwork design with an interlacing ribbon and rosette rim.

Place of Origin

Birmingham (made)

Date

ca. 1780s (made)

Artist/maker

Willmore, Thomas (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver, steel prong

Marks and inscriptions

Incomplete hallmarks, lion passant only

Mark of TW for Thomas Willmore, Birmingham.

Dimensions

Length: 6.09 cm, Width: 5.15 cm, Depth: 1.81 cm

Descriptive line

Silver with steel prong, (one of a pair), Birmingham, about 1780-1790, mark of Thomas Willmore.

Materials

Silver; Steel

Subjects depicted

Rosette; Ribbon

Categories

Footwear; Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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