Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Pair of shoes

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1770-1785 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Leather sole and heel, and uppers of figured silk embroidered with silver-gilt thread and spangles

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.

  • Museum number:

    T.472&A-1913

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Young men of the period would often undertake a leisurely journey through Europe known as the Grand Tour. One effect of this was to introduce Continental styles of dress into England, most noticeably in men's wear but more subtly into women's dress.

These women's shoes have a slender 'Italian' heel, with a wedge-like extension under the instep, a style that gained in favour in the late 1760s. The pale colour contrasts with the figured silk upper and is repeated in the latchets, which have small silver-gilt buckle fastenings. Embroidery in silver-gilt thread and spangles, as seen on the vamps of these shoes, was also popular.

Physical description

Pair of women's shoes of figured silk with a small 'Italian' heel and buckles

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1770-1785 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Leather sole and heel, and uppers of figured silk embroidered with silver-gilt thread and spangles

Dimensions

Height: 10 cm, Width: 7.5 cm, Depth: 23.5 cm

Descriptive line

F, embroidered silk, 1770s, English; Buckle

F, embroidered silk, 1770s, English; Buckle

gilt metal, 1750-99, English; Oval, attached to T472-1913

gilt metal, 1750-99, English; Oval, attached to T472A-1913

Labels and date

15. Shoes with ‘Italian’ heels
1770–85
England
Silk, silk and metal thread embroidery, leather
Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd
V&A: T.472&A, B, C-1913

The Perfect Heel (Object No. 15)
Over the centuries, shoemakers have devised different solutions to elevating footwear. In the 18th century, a long wedged ‘Italian’ heel extended to the middle of the sole in an attempt to support the wearer’s weight. In the mid 19th century, ballerina-style shoes were equipped with simple square heels, sometimes just glued on. In the 1920s, the metal shank was invented and later the metal spike. These innovations could take more weight and meant that designers like Vivier could experiment with shapes, such as the Virgule (‘Comma’) heel. [2015]

Materials

Leather; Silk; Silver-gilt thread

Techniques

Embroidered

Categories

Accessories; Fashion; Footwear; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.

Ajax-loader