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Ceramic Shoe, one of a pair

1729 (dated)
Origin: England, London or Ireland, Belfast (probably)
L: 6 3/8" (16.2 cm).
Tin-glazed earthenware (delft)
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1960-359,2
Hollow shoes with high buckled fronts and pointed toes. Whitish tin glaze decorated in blue with a delicate floral pattern; solid blue glaze on heels and on low molded front buckles. From the high tops on the toes, a decorative stripe of blue with white stylized flowers. On the soles at the arch, the inscription "IS 1729." Outside, in between, and above the initials, four small dots in a loose diamond pattern. Initials separated from the date by a thin line.
Label:Although dated delft shoes or pairs of shoes are recorded as early as 1654 and as late as 1769, the bulk of them (twenty-nine) date between 1685 and 1729. A recorded shoe inscribed "Belfast 1724" has led to the speculation that some of them were made in that Irish city. It has been noted that "a similar shoe can be seen being worn by the boy in the 'Dish of Coffee' tile panel" of the early eighteenth century at the Museum of London. It is further noted that "these delftware shoes were probably intended as tokens of affection, although also at this time the 'shoe' held some mystical significance and examples have often been found secreted in the chimneys of old houses" (see Merrifield, THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF RITUAL AND MAGIC, pp. 130-134).
Provenance:Tilley & Co., London
Inscription(s):"IS 1729"