Object of the Week

Georgian Shoes

Perhaps the most famous pair of shoes in the Whitby Museum Costume Collection, these Georgian shoes date from 1760 and were even mentioned in a catalogue of 1905 and have also been exhibited at the Shoe Museum in Northampton.

For a long time they were thought to have been gentleman’s shoes but have now been confirmed as ladies.

The Georgian heel was a feature between 1714 and 1830. The Georgians had a love affair with heels, with both men and women addicted to fashionable footwear. Notice the height of the heel even in these times. The shoes must have been owned by someone of prominence as a high heel was a symbol of status.

Footwear was also a symbol of domination; think of the high heels of the men in the French Court of Louis IVX and the black platform boots of the Mandarin officials of the Chinese Emperor.

The style of the concaved high heel was influenced by Louis IVX and was popular with both sexes. Materials used at the time included silk, damasks and painted leather, they were adorned with embroidery, silver thread, bows and buckles.

The shoes are tiny in size, demonstrating how much smaller the Georgians were than society today.

We can only wonder at the person who wore these shoes, the events they attended and how on earth they walked in them!

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