Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Very Special 18th Century, 1750-70 Everyday Shoe...


I am honored and so excited to share this wonderful mid 18th century shoe with you all. It is a remarkable, rare survivor of everyday shoe, still remaining on its original wooden shoemakers last, or form. I really love early shoes, they are each a work of art....and I wouldn't mind having a pair of these for myself to wear around everyday, to be sure!

Now I have placed a date on these from 1750-70. Most definitely no later than 1770, when even then shoes were taking on a very different shape. The latchet & buckle closure was common for the mid 18th c , the Louis heel shape, and the rounded toe all date this marvelous, quaint example to the late 1750s, early 1760s. Have I taken out the wooden last? No, I have not, and probably will never do so, even tho the leather is still quite supple, soft and not brittle~ but as you can see, nearly all of its glazed surface has eroded away


In this front view, one can clearly see the 'rounded' tongue (later tongues were pointed), and quaint stamped steel buckle. One latchet is carried over the other, so this shoe looks now, exactly as it would have looked on the foot. The little shiny specks you can see, are bits of the glazed surface that remains....and by glazed, I mean, glazed or hardened with a leather tool, with fast hard rubbing to make the surface shiny and more waterproof~ and NOT by any application of paint or solvents.




A wonderful view of the Louis heel, its stitches can clearly be seen, along with the stepped side seam



I like this view for a couple of reasons~ love the stepped back side seam of coarse, but if you look below it, you can see the wooden heel, and how the shoe sits above it, and the leather of the sole transitions from the footbed to the heel, and even the stitches of heavy linen thread connecting them all...



The feint line around the sole is actually the channel the shoe maker cuts in the leather for stitching them together~ in a Louis heel the leather sole is a single, continuous piece from the tip of the toe to the base of the heel throat



The last piece of a shoe like this that is stitched, is the sole of the heel. Nearly all 18th c shoemakers were men, they were members of guilds but also, much strength in the hands was needed for the leather work. I can only dream where the mate to this very special shoe could be~ its not only special because it is a plain leather, every~day working shoe.....but,







as you can see, it is extremely small. Perhaps it is indeed a tradesman's sample....or better yet, one of a pair of shoes to the ever so elusive wooden Pandora fashion dolls of the period. In either case, it is a wonder & absolute work of art~ now I will leave you to go back and revisit the above pictures, realizing how small it actually is!

6 comments:

Anita said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece of history! Just precious

The Cinnamon Stick said...

I have to say this is one of the best posts I have read in a long time...love, love, love your shoe - and the quaintness of the size gives me the goose bumps!! A real treasure!

Sherri Farley said...

A wonderful piece of history, thank you for sharing.

Lurena Sheary Williamson said...

Oh!!! I just love it. Sweet as can be and the patina is just inspiring. Loved reading this post!

Lana said...

Rachael, this petite shoe is just amazing!

An Historical Lady said...

This is amazing indeed! How lucky you are to have it! I wish it were mine~

Congrats on EAL! I and my home were featured in EAL years ago~
Mary

http://anhistoricallady.blogspot.com

www.thecountryladyantiques.com