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Pair of shoes

Pair of shoes

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Leather, with stencilled decoration

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs H. P. Mitchell

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This style of heeled shoe, made of pastel coloured kid leather with painted or stencilled patterns, with an exaggerated pointed toe, was popular in the latter years of the 18th century. It was much simpler than previous women's styles which had tended to be made of leather, have a pronounced heel. They had often been made of fabric. In 1801 the Lady's Magazine which illustrated just such spotted kid shoes.

Physical description

Pair of pink women's shoes with pointed toe and stencilled decoration.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca. 1800 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Leather, with stencilled decoration


Height: 7.5 cm, Width: 7 cm, Length: 26 cm

Historical context note

Shoes of this type can be dated to the 1790s because of their low heels and pointed toes. Previously, the majority of women's shoes had much higher heels, fastened with buckles, and were often made of fabric.

Both shoes are the cut in exactly the same shape, a practice that had been constant since the introduction of heels in about 1600. With a return to flat shoes from the 1790s, the most important technical innovation was the re-introduction of rights and lefts which were a mirror image of each other. Women were slower to adopt them than men.(Swann)

Giorgio Riello, A Foot in the Past. Consumers, Producers and Footwear in the Long Eighteenth Century, CUP/Pasold, 2006 - social, economic and material culture history, which offers the best overview of the nature of the trade and analyses the implications of changing demand.
Peter McNeil and Giorgio Riello, 'The Art and Science of Walking: Gender, Space and the Fashionable Body in the Long Eighteenth Century', Fashion Theory, Vol. 9:2, 2005, pp. 175-204.

Descriptive line

Pair of pink kid women's shoes with stencilled spot motif

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

ed. Natalie Rothstein, Four Hundred Years of Fashion, V&A, 1984, p. 112-13.




Accessories; Fashion; Footwear; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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