We’re not sure exactly how old the shoes are, but costume source books say that they were probably made between about 1714 and 1760. Like many shoes of the time, they are made of fabric (silk?). Shoes like these didn't last long as they were so delicate. Women often wore overshoes called pattens to protect their shoes.
You can see how this patten fits this shoe exactly. The patten is made from hand-stitched leather as well as the same fabric as the shoe.
A fairly rich woman probably owned these shoes, and didn't wear them much at all! Wealthy women never had to walk far and wore restrictive clothes that made physical movement difficult.
In the 1700s, wealthy Britons’ clothes were influenced by French fashions. Corsets (stays) squeezed women’s bodies into fashionable shapes. Their pinched waists looked even smaller because their skirts stuck out over wide hooped panniers worn on the hips.
These shoes are currently on display at Wakefield Museum in our Style Picks exhibition (until the end of January).
For an amazing view of another of our Georgian shoes (1740-1740) see the image below created for us by Microform Imaging Ltd.
Click on the image and use your mouse to rotate the shoe!