Pair of Boots thumbnail 1
Pair of Boots thumbnail 2
+9
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Pair of Boots

1865-1875 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The red boots, which are of ribbed silk, come up above the ankle and have a 'military' style heel covered in silk to match the uppers. They have lacing at the back and are trimmed at the top with bobbin lace and ribbons.

Frivolous boots of silk and silk satin, some with high heels, were imported into England from France in the 1860s and 1870s. These French styles were also imitated by English shoemakers. The French influence was due to the stylish Empress Eugenie who had married the French emperor, Napoleon III, in 1853. She was probably responsible for the introduction of the shorter skirt which led to a greater emphasis on stockings and shoes.

Additionally, by about 1860 chemical aniline dyes were widely available. Many of the colours they provided were rather gaudy, such as this bright red.


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

  • Boot
  • Boot
Materials and Techniques
Leather, silk trimmed with bobbin lace and silk ribbon, cotton and wool
Brief Description
Pair of ladies' boots of leather and silk trimmed with bobbin lace, possibly made in Great Britain or France, 1865-1875
Physical Description
Pair of ladies' boots of scarlet ribbed silk trimmed with cream bobbin lace and crimson silk ribbon, and lined with white kid. The boots are above ankle length, are 'straights' and have a rounded pointed toe and a covered 'military' heel. They are made in two pieces with a seam up the centre front of the foot. They have a lace fastening at the centre back of the heel with a tongue. The eyelet holes are hand worked. The lace trimming around the top is arranged in a gathered frill with the made up ribbon bow attached at the front. This made be an addition to the original design to match it to the dress. The 'sock' is of cotton. The sole is of beige kid with an impressed design of a gold cornucopia of flowers under the instep and a flower on the centre of the sole, possibly covering the 'sole-stamp'. The boots are machine stitched. There are woollen laces but it is not certain that these are original.
Dimensions
  • Height: 22cm
  • Width: 5.5cm
  • Length: 22.5cm
Gallery Label
  • Label for the exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain Tight-laced Tight lacing excites desire because it at once constrains and carries the promise of release. Both the tying and untying can have a strong sexual charge. These boots share similarities with the corsets of the period – high-lacing at the back and bobbin lace cascading over the top. The red colour is a daring choice, and would have flashed tantalisingly underneath long skirts. Red boots About 1870 England or France Silk, lace and leather Given by Dr F. Spencer V&A: T.180&A-1984(2015-2016)
  • Red silk boot trimmed with bobbin lace British or French, about 1870 Museum number: T.180A-1984 Given by Dr. F. Spencer(2007)
Credit line
Given by Dr F. Spencer
Object history
RF File: 84/201
Summary
The red boots, which are of ribbed silk, come up above the ankle and have a 'military' style heel covered in silk to match the uppers. They have lacing at the back and are trimmed at the top with bobbin lace and ribbons.



Frivolous boots of silk and silk satin, some with high heels, were imported into England from France in the 1860s and 1870s. These French styles were also imitated by English shoemakers. The French influence was due to the stylish Empress Eugenie who had married the French emperor, Napoleon III, in 1853. She was probably responsible for the introduction of the shorter skirt which led to a greater emphasis on stockings and shoes.



Additionally, by about 1860 chemical aniline dyes were widely available. Many of the colours they provided were rather gaudy, such as this bright red.
Collection
Accession Number
T.180&A-1984

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 createdMarch 13, 2003
Record URL