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Pair of shoes

Pair of shoes

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Chalopin (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, leather, ribbon and linen stitched with cotton thread

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The elegant flat satin lady's slipper first became popular in England and France during the last decade of the eighteenth century. Its plain design was part of the movement in fashion away from what were considered by some to be the extravagant excesses of the late eighteenth century. The move was towards a simpler, purer style of dress and footwear that was influenced by designs from classical antiquity.

Slippers, or 'sandal shoes', continued to be worn well into the mid-century although by the 1850s they were used mainly for formal wear in black or white. This pair is a typical example of that style. The thin leather sole and delicately hand-stitched uppers were relatively simple and cheap to produce. Often the shoes were then customised by the retailer or owner with bows, rosettes and ribbon ankle ties. The narrow sole of this pair is remarkable and illustrates the nineteenth-century assertion that small feet were an ideal of femininity. Measuring just 2.2cm at its middle or 'waist', the sole is less than half the width of other shoes of this type of the same length. Such a narrow sole could not possibly have provided enough surface area for even the daintiest of feet. Contemporary commentators criticised the trend for squeezing the foot into the smallest possible shoe. However, the stretched and battered condition of some surviving examples are testament to this trend and to some women's willingness to follow it.

Physical description

Black silk heelless slippers; square toe and throat, black silk uppers with pair of forward-slanting side seams; edges bound with black silk and stitched with black thread, cotton string-pulls at throat, black silk ribbon ties sewn to sides near seams; cream leather insole and quarter lining, cream linen vamp lining; paper maker's label stuck to insole at waist in both shoes; brown leather sole.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca. 1850 (made)


Chalopin (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silk, leather, ribbon and linen stitched with cotton thread

Marks and inscriptions

Printed paper maker's label stuck to insole at waist in both shoes, 'No.7. / Rue vivienne / CHALOPIN / Succu.. de P Rouillieu / Cordonnier pour Dames / A PARIS'

T.530 inscribed in black ink on insole 'droit', T. 530A inscribed in black ink on insole 'gauche'


Height: 6 cm each shoe, Width: 5 cm each shoe, Width: 2.2 cm each shoe, sole at waist, Length: 24.5 cm each shoe

Descriptive line

F, heeless ladies slipper, purple silk faded to black; made by Chalopin, Paris, about 1850


Silk; Silk; Linen; Cotton; Leather


Shoe making


Footwear; Accessories; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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