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Shoe buckle

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1770-1784 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver and steel

  • Museum number:

    T.319-1982

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118; The Wolfson Gallery, case 1

Object Type
Shoe buckles first appeared in the 1660s, replacing elaborate shoe ribbons (known as 'roses') to fasten men's shoes. At first plain and utilitarian, shoe buckles became more elaborate as the 18th century progressed.

Materials & Making
Like most silver buckles, this one was cast and chased to produce its decoration. The rectangular shape and cusped design of this shoe buckle are typical of the Neo-classical influence at work on late-18th-century men's clothing.

Ownership & Use
Large shoe buckles and high heels were only part of the exaggerated styles of a certain group of fashionable young men in the 1770s. They also wore very high wigs, tightly cut coats and breeches in pastel shades and too much perfume (according to their critics). Such fashions were considered very effeminate. The term 'macaroni' was coined by young men on the Grand Tour for anything stylish and elegant. As many also adopted this new style of dressing, the expression was applied to them.

Physical description

Silver shoe buckle, high-arched, rectangular and with cusped decoration. Steel chape.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1770-1784 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver and steel

Marks and inscriptions

Lion passant and 'IB'

Dimensions

Height: 5.8 cm, Width: 7.6 cm

Object history note

Made in England

Descriptive line

Silver shoe buckle, England, 1770-1784

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The decorative effect of this silver buckle imitates that of cut steel. The shape of the buckle suggests that it may have been used on a shoe with a high heel, as worn by 'macaronis' or fops of the 1770s. [27/03/2003]

Categories

Footwear; Accessories; Metalwork; Fashion; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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