A Georgian Shoe Sojourn: From London Cordwainers & French Shoe Shops to New England Collections

The John Paul Jones House, 
Portsmouth Historical Society
Portsmouth, NH (USA)
Sandra Rux, Curator

We are (happily) staggered by a wealth of little-known collections with shoes, boots and slippers, which we have been fortunate enough to visit this summer. Many wonderful winter hours of archival research await.  However, with a number of deadlines fast approaching, ample time is elusive. 
Therefore, kind readers, please indulge us as we post images with limited information at this time, knowing that you will learn more as we do and as time permits. This post is the first of several highlighting our summer travels. 
We met Sandra Rux at the 1758 John Paul Jones House 
(43 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH. USA www.Facebook.com/JohnPaulJonesHouse) initially to look at a pair of shoes from the shop of London cordwainers, Chamberlain & Sons, Cheapside; we have now returned on several occasions to view this fine collection of historic footwear.
Chamberlain & Sons, London
Pink silk lachet/buckle shoes, 1775-1785
Lovely examples of shoes by the Chamberlains may be found in the
collection of Historic New England.
Interior label
Chamberlain & Sons, London
Note contrasting silks, emphasizing the thin, narrow "peg" heel which
contrasts with the decades earlier, thicker Louis heel.
Label for French cordwainer from Bordeaux
Cream silk shoe, c. 1784
Note metallic "spangles" ornamenting the toe. 
Excellent example of "exotic" kid slippers with Alhambra-esque
printed pattern, c. 1780-90s. This is a quality slipper with
a high level of finish detail. Note the very low leather heel.
Detail of above
Pink kid slipper, printed with stylized, geometric floral motif, c. 1780-1790s.
These slippers were widely popular: an very similar pair is in the Snowshill Collection (www.NationalTrust.org.uk)

Please note, all images are courtesy of the Portsmouth Historical Society. The artifacts in this post are not currently on view- contact the Curator at the above links for access.

Look for more "Shoe Sojourns" around New England......

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