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Pair of shoes

Pair of shoes

  • Place of origin:

    France (possibly, made)
    Italy (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1770s-1780s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Leather sole and heel, the uppers and heel covered in silk satin

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Willoughby Hodgson

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

These sophisticated women's shoes, with their slender high heels, show the popularity of Italian and French styles in Britain at this time. Called ‘slippers’, they showed off the woman's tiny foot and shapely leg under the shorter dresses that were then fashionable. The narrowest high heels had to be reinforced with metal spikes. This feature appeared again when stiletto heels came into fashion in the 1950s and 1960s.

Physical description

Pair of women's shoes of black silk satin with high heel and pointed tongue

Place of Origin

France (possibly, made)
Italy (possibly, made)


1770s-1780s (made)



Materials and Techniques

Leather sole and heel, the uppers and heel covered in silk satin


Height: 13 cm, Width: 6 cm of sole, Depth: 19.5 cm

Descriptive line

Black shoes, 1770–89, France or Italy, Silk satin and leather

Labels and date

Label for the exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

On Your Toes
With their slender high heels, these women’s shoes showed off the wearer’s tiny foot and shapely leg under the ankle-length dresses then fashionable. A partial wedge supported the span of the arch. Nonetheless, the thin satin-covered wooden heel would not take much weight and the wearer would have had to balance on her toes.
Black shoes
France or Italy
Silk satin and leather
Given by Mrs Willoughby Hodgson
V&A: T.215&A-1916 [2015-2016]
Black satin shoe
French or Italian, 1770-1785
Museum no. T.215A-1916
Given by Mrs. Willoughby Hodgson [2007]


Leather; Silk satin


Accessories; Fashion; Footwear; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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