French Casaquin c. 1790
Meg Andrews here
I started collecting 18th century shoe buckles last year…
Many from the Georgian time period 1714-1811. Anyone who has
read my blog for a while has probably noticed I love 18th century
Until the end of the 18th century, women’s shoes were made
of lovely silk and embroidered fabric. Perhaps that’s why I find
them so charming…and expensive…and fragile…
and why I focused instead on collecting their sturdy silver buckles
I focused on silver with paste stones…
In the 18th century, paste was by no means an inferior
product and both men and woman loved how they
added a little sparkle to the dance floor….
highlighting their perfect mincing footsteps…
Some buckles lose their prongs along the way…
the top and bottom buckles
have the similar shaped mechanism that I prefer…
It was customary at the time for silver buckles to
not be marked, but they were all tested chemically
by the sellers who vouched for their composition..
Of course I was most drawn to flowers and bows.
The only matched pair I have,
this set came backed by damask
and the seller included loose stones
so that I could restore them…
Probably my favorite…
It has a nice heft to it, a good mix of paste sizes and shapes
and I like the open design. A pin was added to the back to
turn this into a broach and I added the scrap of 18th
century fabric. It’s not the whole shoe but it’ll do….
Pastes were set into foil, which intensified the shine
They also often added a black dot to the bottom of the paste to give more
dimension to it and duplicate the look of diamonds…
Matched pairs with no missing stones command high prices,
but I’m content with my little ramshackle fleet…
The buckle with baguette shaped pastes is another favorite. I’m working on a storage
and display case, but I like collecting antique objects that can be picked up and examined.
It just gives another dimension to history to touch the every day objects that people
lived amongst, relied on, were proud of.
Photo from Marie Antoinette Style by Adrien Goetz
A great photo timeline of antique shoes here
A collection of my posts that feature antique shoes here
Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 18th century buckle collection here
Romance novelist Candice Hern’s gorgeous collection here