Pair of Slippers thumbnail 1
Pair of Slippers thumbnail 2
+27
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Pair of Slippers

1660s-1675 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Slipper
  • Slipper
Materials and Techniques
Wood, leather, kidskin, silk satin, silver thread, silver-gilt thread, silk thread, linen, hand sewing, hand embroidery
Brief Description
Pair of women's slippers, English, 1660-1675; silk embroidered with silk & silver threads
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.
Dimensions
  • At highest point height: 9cm
  • Width: 24.5cm
  • Depth: 8cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 27/07/2000 by KB see diagram for clarification of H, W, D
Production typeUnique
Gallery Label
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)
Credit line
Given by Sir Charles Clore, on behalf of the British Shoe Corporation
Object history
Given to the V&A by Sir Charles Clore on behalf of the British Shoe Corporation in 1974.
Summary
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.
Bibliographic References
  • 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
Collection
Accession Number
T.860&A-1974

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdFebruary 19, 2003
Record URL