Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Victorian Evening Slippers (?)

From the seller:

Rare ladies black leather winter boots, dating to the mid 19thc. With quilted and plush detail, front ribbon ties with padded interior lined in pastel pink silk. Sturdy leather with soles that look like they were never worn. Measure 9.5 long by 2 1/4" at widest part of toe. Exterior measurements.

From Me:

I admit I'm a bit hesitant to post this one. I think it *might* be a really good recreation of an Edwardian slipper using antique fabric. However, even if it is a good recreation, it is done in the early 20th C style. Left and right lasts did not exist from the 17th century into the mid 19th century. You could still find straight lasts up into the early 20th c. Since this has left and right, it's post mid 19th century. However, what gives away the Edwardian date is the wingtip - which is very 20th century. Although variation existed dating back centuries, this style became vogue in the early 20th century. The fur lining and quilting also make the shoe look more like carriage shoes in the late 19th/early 20th century.

Read comments below. :-)


  1. I would have to disagree - left/right technology for all shoes was "re-invented" in 1818, and was in common use by the 1850s. Everything about these shoes places them 1840s - 1880s (though that late date is a stretch), including the foxing (the "wingtip"), which was common on all kinds of women's shoes from the Regency onwards. Here's a very similar pair of shoes from the 1840s:

    Here's another:

    If that's machine stitching on there, it might mean a more central date - 1850s, 1860s.

    I've never seen anything like this for the Edwardian period, in primary sources or as extant examples. The Edwardians did do a lot of "historically inspired" designs, but with fashionable Edwardian hallmarks, like pointed toes (very pointed), and toe counters (stiffeners in the toes creating a "toe box). Square toes were not old enough to be novel.

    If you're interested in more shoe history, check out Nancy Rexford's "Women's Shoes in America" book. It's eye-opening!

    1. Good to know! I still think these are later - maybe 1870's. It's definitely got machine stitching. What's tripping me up is that they have a lot of elements similar to the turn of the century carriage shoes (quilting, fur lining, ect):*&deptids=8&what=Fur|Carriage+boots&pos=1

  2. These are spot-on for the 1850s! The stitching, though fine and even, is just as likely to be hand-stitching. I have shoes from the same period with stitches so fine they put my modern sewing machine stitches to shame, but they are still hand-sewn. These have every hallmark of a beautiful mid-century pair of outdoor shoes. It is possible that they have been re-soled over the years, but the tops are definitely 1855-1865.

    To add another link to the source materials, here's a pair of children's shoes from 1851 that are nearly identical in style:

    This is such a lovely pair of shoes! I envy the auction winner...