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

Shoe Buckle

ca. 1790 (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. 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.32A-1909. It features bright-cutting – a method of engraving popular in the late 18th century whereby shallow curved grooves were cut with sides of varying steepness to create facets that give a reflective, sparkling effect. The buckle is also granulated; that is, decorated with tiny spheres of metal.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silver, bright-cut and granulated, with steel
Brief Description
Silver with steel prong, (one of a pair), London, 1780-90 possibly made by Joseph Scammell.
Physical Description
Shoe buckle, (one of a pair) silver with steel prong, rectangular, decorated with an openwork flower and leaf design, bright-cut with granulated border.
Dimensions
  • Length: 6.94cm
  • Width: 4.74cm
  • Depth: 2.97cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'IS' (Maker's mark, in script; possibly for Joseph Scammell)
  • Sterling standard and London mark of leopard's head, badly damaged.
Object history
Maker's mark: IS in script, thought to have been IF perhaps for John Faux, London but more recently assessed as IS perhaps for Joseph Scammell.
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. 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.32A-1909. It features bright-cutting – a method of engraving popular in the late 18th century whereby shallow curved grooves were cut with sides of varying steepness to create facets that give a reflective, sparkling effect. The buckle is also granulated; that is, decorated with tiny spheres of metal.
Associated Object
Collection
Accession Number
M.32-1909

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record createdJune 9, 2005
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