An Exciting Update

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Remember these?

That is the shoe and shoe buckle pieces that were found in the cornice of the roof during the roof restoration project. I recently asked the shoemakers at Colonial Williamsburg for their opinion on the date and construction of the pieces, and today I got their response. In their expert opinion, the buckle frame (the half-rectangle) is made of lead and dates from the 1770s-80s. The chape (the part of the buckle with the prongs), could date from the 1760s or 70s. So, the two pieces may go together and may not. The shoe (and this is the exciting part for me) is a 19th century women’s shoe! It’s exciting because even though I am nowhere near a shoe expert I managed to guess correctly that it was a lady’s shoe from the 19th century, when slipper-like styles were all the rage. Of course, the professionals were able to discern much more detail than I was; shoemaker Valentine Povinelli describes it as “woman’s black leather calfskin shoe” with “a silk bound edge, a whip stitched linen lining and a whip stitched side lining.” He says that the shape of the toe dates it to 1835-55 if it is completely handsewn and as late as the 1860s if there is any machine stitching. The level of detail the shoemakers were able to discern from just a picture is truly impressive, and I appreciate their expertise!

Posted on Oct 5, 2011 in by Hammond-Harwood House



Hammond-Harwood House

The mission of the Hammond-Harwood House Association is to preserve and to interpret the architecturally significant Hammond-Harwood House Museum and its collection of fine and decorative arts, and to explore the diverse social history associated with its occupants, both free and enslaved, for the purposes of education and appreciation.
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