V333: Precious Things: Early 19th Century Slippers

I’ve been spending way too much time on eBay, building the American Duchess Historical Footwear collection … out of real historic footwear!  My latest acquisitions …

This single shoe is quite precious, with a ribbon rosette on the high vamp, and wide ribbons hand-stitched to the sides, to tie up around the ankle.

This slipper dates c. 1815-30.  It is straight-lasted, completely hand-sewn, and exhibits the sole shape, seaming, and vamp length typical of this period.  I am honored to have this lovely creature in my collection!

The second shoe is from a later date, c. 1830-50.

She has the characteristic square toe, straight last and narrow arch on the sole, plus evidence of now-lost, very narrow shoe strings that would have tied around the ankles.

I adore both of these little beauties!  They were both wedding shoes, made of white silk, lined with linen, and bound in galloon.  The square-toed flat has a kid leather insole, and both examples have quite thin leather outsoles.  I am imagining reproductions in dyeable white satin….. 🙂

23 Comments

  • Anonymous

    December 13, 2012 at 3:21 AM

    Ooo, I'd love to see these sorts of shoes added to your offerings, Lauren. It is nigh impossible to find these sorts of high vamp styles in modern shoes.

    Best,
    Quinn

    Reply
    • Lauren Stowell

      December 13, 2012 at 9:40 PM

      You are so right. The high vamp is a surprisingly defining characteristic of early 19th c. footwear, and yet another thing, as you pointed out, that is impossible to find these days.

      Reply
  • Kiyotea

    December 13, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    I'm a fan of those square-toed slippers!
    I have yet to get into 1830's dresses, but when I do I'd leap at the chance for a pair of those! 😀

    Reply
    • Lauren Stowell

      December 13, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      They're kindof weird and cool at the same time! This period of footwear is interesting because shoes experienced almost no change for 30 years! Those could be worn in the 1840s or the early 1860s and still be fashionable.

      Reply
  • Kleidung um 1800

    December 13, 2012 at 6:01 AM

    Congrats on the gorgeous find!
    Both are precious beauties and their condition seems to be mint! Isn't it a difference to see a shoe/slipper in an online collection (even if the zoom-in is perfectly close) or hold them in your hands and be able to examine them? Squee!!! It would be lovely if you'd add those to your offerings.

    Sabine

    Reply
    • Lauren Stowell

      December 13, 2012 at 9:42 PM

      It really does make a difference. There is some wear and shattering around the heel on these, but I got them for an amazing price, and they are primarily for study, so I was really stoked. They were in better condition than I expected.

      Reply
  • Sandra Brake

    December 13, 2012 at 7:03 AM

    Yep both are history geek giggle makers for me. That butterfly feeling in your chest when you hold something reeeeeeeally old in your hands that makes your heart sing.

    Reply
  • vintagevisions27

    December 13, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    These shoes are darling, especially the first one. Makes you wonder what happened to their mates? 🙂 I would love to see you offer some 1810 to 1815 style shoes. There is certainly the demand for them as the next few years will be marking the 100th anniversary of many Napoleonic and War of 1812 events, both here in North American as well as in Europe.
    -Emily

    Reply
    • Lauren Stowell

      December 13, 2012 at 9:45 PM

      That's a good question. These were undoubtedly wedding shoes – maybe each mate was too badly damaged? I like to think there is an interesting story behind it.

      I've sent off spec sheets for two Regency flats, one in dyeable silk, one a repro of Abigail Adam's yellow kid slippers in the Smithsonian. They are a little earlier than the ribboned slipper I've got here, but shoul be a nice all-purpose Regency style that can work for 1800-1820.

      Reply
    • vintagevisions27

      December 14, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      As wedding shoes it's very possible the mates were given to family members of keep sakes. Not unheard of as items are handed down from one generation to the next.

      Great! Can't wait to see the sample when they are ready. I love that you offer dyeable silk shoes. It allows for so many options!
      -Emily

      Reply
  • Unknown

    December 13, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Love!!! Will they be straight lasted like the originals? And is there a chance there will be a leather version for us rough & tumble gals? (satin shoes and Oakland don't mix, lol, but dang, so pretty!!!)

    Reply
    • Lauren Stowell

      December 13, 2012 at 9:47 PM

      Hi Kathleen – they will not be straight-lasted, but if the style is popular and there is a call for it, of course leather is an option, if I can find the kind of super-soft kid leather that was used on originals.

      Reply

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