Wednesday, August 03, 2011

18th c Dollye Delight~

Who ever said bigger is better obviously has never taken the time to realize what absolute delights can be hiding in the smallest of places. Sometimes the smallest things have the biggest burdens...carrying on their shoulders the titles of 'most important' and 'rarest of objects'. I love early clothing, and I love early dolls, so just imagine my utter delight, to have found a little treasure that blends the two most happily!

Tho just a single, this little wonder is an early 18th century wooden patten, perfect in shape and form, and made entirely for Mifses best friend, her dollye. I have pictured it next to two pair of children's pattens, which in turn, are pictures by 2 18th c adult size shoes, so its diminutive size of just 2&3/4" can be fully appreciated

If you would like to learn more about the children's pattens shown, may I refer you to look up my February 2009 post about them in the Museum section. Pattens were an absolute essential part of the early wardrobe~ for both ladies and gentleman from the 15th centuries up to the early 19th. These are made of alder wood, which resists rotting quite nicely, and are hand carved to the fashionable shoe shape of the period. The childs size toe is very pointy, to mimic the very pointy toes of the late 1780s to 1790s. The wooden sole is raised up off the ground by a hand forged iron stand, usually in the shape of an oval ring, but I have other shapes, such as the lantern shape of the c1720 patten in the first photo, and have seen a wonderful heart shape 'ring' on an adult patten. They were worn over the normal shoes, by means of fastening a simple leather strap over the instep of the foot...and kept ones very nice shoes up out of the mud and waste of city streets and country roads

The iron ring is nailed to the wooden sole at the back heel, with a tab that runs to the toe, and wraps up over the top of it~ I assume to protect the tip from chipping off or wearing down, a very fine and labor intensive feature~ in this respect, both the childs size and dollye size are exactly the same.

You can see the hand made nails that attach the remains of the original leather straps at the sides, and how the iron is wrapped up around the toe....this would have been done at the forge while the iron was indeed hot

Another wonderful detail of this piece is the heel. Like its full size cousins, the sole has been carved to fit a Louis Heel'd shoe~ by the shape, c1740-50

There is always a possibility this could be a salesman's sample, but I highly doubt it. This is such a utilitarian thing, peddlers and markets everywhere would be flooded with them. In the 18th c, not knowing what a patten was, would be like, not knowing what a pair of sneakers are today~ you wouldn't order a sample, you would simply order 100 pair all at once. I am thinking these were made for a very special, and privileged 18th c doll.

The beautifully formed iron ring keeps dollys foot up off the ground when walking...she would take them off the second she returned indoors, as to not mark the floor, or track in the yuk trapped within on the bottom of it

The little spike protruding from the center of the sole is the tip of one of the nails in the side, affixing the leather strap

beautiful! Of coarse I wish I had the mate, but I am 150% thrilled just to have the one. What fabulous shoes they could have held


Susan said...

What a fantastic, one-of-a-kind treasure!
It is unbelievable that something this tiny and unusual would survive until today. You are indeed a lucky gal.
Warm Regards,
Susan B., Western MA

Jan Conwell said...

I studied medieval and renaissance costuming for years, and read about pattens, but seeing one is a whole 'nother matter! Can you imagine WALKING in those things? :~P

Thanks for showing us these incredible treasures of history.

Rachael Kinnison said...

Thankyou for stopping in Susan & Jan~ I appreciate you taking the time to comment~ blogger has been a pain lately and even I have a problem leaving a comment on my OWN blog! But Jan~ this is SO true~ I am glad to share these, and hope you found my earlier post on the pattens, and the guild associated with making them. If I could find a blacksmith that could make me a pair, I WOULD~ I have read several accounts and comments of the very distinct sound they made on the cobblestones as folks were walking in them. I would really love to experience wearing a pair myself. The ring stands are very broad, so I dont think they would be very hard to walk on at all~ and the childrens, seem to have the broader more rectangular shape stands....I think if a person can walk in heels, pattens would be no problem. It boggles the mind to think of all the wonderous every day utilatarian objects that have not survived from early times.....but evry now and then, things surface :)
xoxoxo rachael