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Pair of shoes

Pair of shoes

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1856-1875 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Leather, satin and silk with lace and velvet sewn with cotton thread and decorated with a gilt metal buckle

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The low-heeled lady's shoe was essentially a heeled version of the flat satin slipper popular for much of the first half of the nineteenth century. The classically inspired 'sandal shoes', with their square toe and throat, flat soles, rosettes and ribbon ankle ties, continued to be worn in black or white for formal wear but by the 1850s more elaborate styles began to emerge and heels came back into fashion.

This pair with its lace 'fenelon' or tiered bow, a feature particular to the 1860s and 1870s, is especially elaborate. Two different types of lace have been used for the edging and the bow, and the addition of a gilt buckle set onto velvet provides a further decorative flourish. It is not clear whether the lace and buckle were added by the manufacturer, the retailer or the owner. However, although the satin uppers and leather covered heel appear to have been sewn neatly by machine the applied ornament has been hand-stitched rather crudely. Sewing machines for use with leather only came into use from 1856 and this helps to date the shoes more accurately.

Physical description

Pair of black satin and lace ladies low-heeled shoes with buckle; square toe and throat, black satin upper with pair of forward slanting folded side seams and edges bound with black silk ribbon; edges trimmed with lace, rosette at throat in a different lace with pleated velvet centre section and oval gilt buckle; black cord tie-pulls at throat; cream leather insole, vamp and quarter lining; what remains of black silk ribbon ankle ties sewn to the edges of each shoe near the side seams; the whole stitched with black thread; brown leather sole, black leather covered heel stitched with cream thread.

Place of Origin

England (probably, made)


1856-1875 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Leather, satin and silk with lace and velvet sewn with cotton thread and decorated with a gilt metal buckle


Height: 7.5 cm each shoe, Width: 5.3 cm each shoe, Length: 23.5 cm each shoe

Descriptive line

F, pair of black satin low-heeled shoes with lace trim and velvet and lace buckle decoration at throat; English, 1856-1875


Leather; Satin; Silk; Cotton; Velvet; Gilt metal


Shoe making


Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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