Friday, August 4, 2017

Two Views of the Same Georgian Shoes, c. 1730-40s

I have long been enamored of these cheerful, chipper shoes, housed in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. They are visually pleasing with a balanced design. These linen canvas shoes are embroidered with colored wools in cross stitch and tent stitch, and feature a short heel and latchets (or straps) for buckles to fasten them. From Great Britain, c. 1730s-40s; the wearer and maker are unknown.
As I prepare to curate an exhibit at in 2018, I have been thinking a good deal about photography and presentation of costume over time. I find both the V&A and the Metropolitan Museum good sites for such exploration as they have been documenting their collections over an extended period of time. I will be returning to this theme over the next 18 months, but thought you might enjoy considering your response to these two photographs of the same shoes. Does the photographic style change or influence your response? Do you have a preference between an artistically photographed vision and the more documentary style? Note the wear apparent at the heel and the toe; the turned up, pointed toe; the white rand, and the straps for buckles are much more visible in the second photo. There is drama associated with the single shoe which appears suspended in a beautiful blue backdrop, and with its saturated color, may appeal to contemporary audiences. Both images convey different features and qualities – some which may appeal more to one audience over another.  Taken together, the differing photos provide a fuller portrait.

For more, see the Victoria and Albert Museum:…/O74390/pair-of-shoes-unknown/

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