Friday, June 21, 2019

Brocaded Silk Shoes: James Adams, London Shoemaker, 1770s

I viewed these elegant court pumps from the collection of the Pilgrim Hall Museum, in Plymouth, MA. ( on my summer research road trip in 2018. They are stunners. 
Vibrant, with high quality finish work, these c.1770s brocaded silk buckle shoes exhibit a high Italian heel, oval toe and pattern matched heels & toes. There is evidence of multiple buckle piercings on straps/lachets; they may have been wedding shoes. Note the snippet of the brocade placed on the underside of the upper portion of the tongue - a special visual 'pop' for the wearer.

One shoe features a paper label, identifying the shoemaker as James Adams at the ‘shoe warehouse,’ 224 High Street, Borough, London. Adams is mentioned in Wakefield’s Merchant and Tradesman’s General Directory for London from 1793. 
The accession number is 1373.3a,b

Thank you to curator Rebecca Griffin, and the staff of the Pilgrim Hall Museum for their kindly assistance.