Most surviving women's shoes of the 18th century are made with fabric uppers. These have been collected for their silk patterns, but they only represent indoor footwear. Traversing the muddy streets of London in the days before tarmac and pavements required something much more durable on the foot. This very shapely pair of leather shoes were meant for outdoor wear, although given their excellent condition, they were probably only worn in the short and well-swept space between carriage and front door. The accompanying pattens, or leather undersoles which tied over the shoe, were also intended to protect the sole of the shoe from grimy streets.

Fashionable shoes during this period were usually worn with silver buckles which fastened the two latchets or straps over the instep. The very pointed, upturned toe and curving heel were also stylish features. Until the 19th century, shoes were not specially shaped to fit the right or left foot. The sole for each of these shoes and pattens is identically shaped.


  • Title: Shoe
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1695/1704
  • Location: England
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 25.0 cm, Width: 8.5 cm, Height: 13.0 cm
  • Provenance: Given by Messrs Faulkner and Son
  • Medium: Leather, wood, linen thread; hand-sewn

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