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Pair of slippers

  • Place of origin:

    England, Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1660s-1675 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood, leather, kidskin, silk satin, silver thread, silver-gilt thread, silk thread, linen, hand sewing, hand embroidery

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Sir Charles Clore, on behalf of the British Shoe Corporation

  • Museum number:

    T.860&A-1974

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 54b, case 2

  • Download image

The 'forked toe' of this slipper was the height of fashion during the 1660s and early 1670s. The square toe has been exaggerated to droop over the sole at both corners. Typical of the late 17th century is the white rand, the narrow band of white leather between the sole and the upper.

Such decorative footwear would have belonged to a lady of leisure. Slippers were usually backless; they were informal footwear and would have been worn indoors, probably with a nightgown.

Despite their informality, slippers were often highly decorated. The exquisite embroidery on this example consists of a series of flowers, berries and leaves, worked in blue and red silk thread, with branches and additional leaves and berries in silver thread. Prominent down the centre front are raised motifs in silver-gilt and silver thread, worked over a firm, padded wool foundation.

Physical description

Pair of women's slippers (or mules) of white silk satin embroidered with a raised design in silver and silver-gilt thread, embellished with flowers in red and blue silk. The wooden heel of medium height is covered in brown leather and there is a white kid rand. The upper is lined with white kid and glazed canvas forms a half-inner sole. The slippers have a forked toe.

Place of Origin

England, Great Britain (made)

Date

1660s-1675 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Wood, leather, kidskin, silk satin, silver thread, silver-gilt thread, silk thread, linen, hand sewing, hand embroidery

Dimensions

Height: 9 cm at highest point, Width: 24.5 cm, Depth: 8 cm

Object history note

Given to the V&A by Sir Charles Clore on behalf of the British Shoe Corporation in 1974.

Descriptive line

Pair of women's slippers, English, 1660-1675; silk embroidered with silk & silver threads

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

Pratt, Lucy and Linda Woolley, Shoes, London: V&A Museum, 1999, 28, plate 9
Costigliolo, Luca, 'Embroidered Slipper', in North, Susan and Jenny Tiramani, eds, Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns, vol.2, London: V&A Publishing, 2012, pp.152-155

Labels and date

British Galleries:
THREE SHOES

In the 17th century all shoes were 'straights', not shaped for the left or right foot. Fashionable men and women wore moderately high heels indoors. Rich silks and velvets were decorated with exquisite embroidery or braids and fastened with ribbons. French styles were popular after 1660, like the squared toe. Later, a long, pointed shape with closed sides became fashionable, like that of the green shoe. [27/03/2003]

Materials

Silk; Linen; Leather; Silk thread; Silver thread; Silver-gilt thread; Kidskin

Techniques

Hand sewing; Hand embroidery

Categories

Textiles; Embroidery; Footwear; Fashion; Accessories; Leather; Women's clothes

Production Type

Unique

Collection code

T&F

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Qr_O74686
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