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Shoe buckle

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1790 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Scammell, Joseph (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, bright-cut and granulated, with steel

  • Museum number:

    M.32-1909

  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 14, shelf C, box 5

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.

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.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

ca. 1790 (made)

Artist/maker

Scammell, Joseph (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver, bright-cut and granulated, with steel

Marks and inscriptions

'IS'
Maker's mark, in script; possibly for Joseph Scammell

Sterling standard and London mark of leopard's head, badly damaged.

Dimensions

Length: 6.94 cm, Width: 4.74 cm, Depth: 2.97 cm

Object history note

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.

Descriptive line

Silver with steel prong, (one of a pair), London, 1780-90 possibly made by Joseph Scammell.

Materials

Silver; Steel

Techniques

Bright cutting; Granulation (metal decorating)

Subjects depicted

Leaf; Openwork; Flower

Categories

Footwear; Jewellery; Metalwork; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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