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Pair of shoes

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1660-1680 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Leather, pigskin, silk, silk thread, woven silk lace, linen thread, hand sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr Talbot Hughes

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The narrow square toe and shaped heel of these shoes are typical of fashionable footwear of the 1660s and 1670s. The tongue and latchets (straps) have small holes, through which to draw a ribbon to tie the shoe, or to fasten with a buckle.

The narrow red silk braid decorating this shoe has been used to spectacular effect. By applying it in rows set closely together, the braid accentuates the elegant, curvilinear shape of the shoe. The white rand, the narrow band of white kid around the edge of the sole, is characteristic of the late 17th century.

The shoes are 'straights', that is, each one was made for either the left or the right foot, although the distortion of shoe T.107:A-1917 indicates that it was worn on the right foot.

Physical description

A pair of women's shoes of pigskin, dyed mushroom colour, with an elongated square toe and leather-covered heel, leather sole and heel, and white leather rand. The shoes are decorated with parallel lines of thin red woven silk lace, stitched down with tan-coloured silk thread.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1660-1680 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Leather, pigskin, silk, silk thread, woven silk lace, linen thread, hand sewn


Depth: 25 cm, Width: 8.5 cm, Height: 14 cm

Object history note

Given by Talbot Hughes in 1917. In the note to the director about their acquisition, Keeper of Textiles, Albert Frank Kendrick wrote: 'This is a very fine pair of shoes. We told Mr T Hughes about them and he went off and bought them to give us'.

Historical context note

These are typical of the fashionable style of footwear for women in the 1660s and 1670s. The latchets on either side would have fastened with a ribbon or buckle.

Descriptive line

F, English, 1660-80; mushroom-coloured pigskin, applied woven red silk lace

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

Pratt, Lucy and Linda Woolley, Shoes, London: V&A Museum, 1999, p.31, plate 10
Thornton, Claire, 'Kid Shoe', in North, Susan and Jenny Tiramani, eds, Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns, vol.2, London: V&A Publishing, 2012, pp.156-159

Labels and date

British Galleries:

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]


Leather; Silk; Pigskin; Silk braid; Silk thread; Linen thread


Hand sewing


Accessories; Fashion; Footwear; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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