Thanks to Linda Stevens at C & J Clarks Shoe Museum in Street, we can see more early embroidered shoes, this time from the 1760s. This ruby satin buckle shoe, although suffering from the toll of time, is one of my favourites for the simple fact that its wearing tells us much of its inner fabric which otherwise, perhaps, we would not seek to question. We can see the high count of the neutral satin warp bursting free of its abraded ruby weft like a cascade of tumbled hair and one is astonished at what must have been the sheer density of the weave. The shinly gold or silver metal braids have tarnished and corroded showing their secretly encased silk shafts. And in some places we can just see a residue of metal encasing the silk that held the once bright spangles in place.
Here you can see the full shoe in all its glory.
By contrast this black satin shoe seems a world and time away from the first example, though created only 5 years earlier.
Here we can see here a completely different embroidery technique - simple sprays of flowers worked in long and short stitch with split stitch stems adorn this black satin shoe. The shoes show just a little abrading near the sole, and in this case the black satin weft has a matched black warp and the neutral coloured fabric revealed is a lining. I wonder if these shoes ever danced, for surely the wearer could have been no wall-flower.