Monday, August 25, 2008

Regency Footwear


Thanks to all who guessed in my contest. Well, none of you guessed correctly, but to be honest, I am not the slightest bit surprised. Most of you thought of crampons, for walking in ice and snow, which was also my first thought when I saw them.

The boots are, in fact, French. And they are chestnut crushers! If you did not see the picture in the earlier post, it the one below this.

I am sure you can see it quite easily now. lol

Clogs like these were used in 19th century France to remove the shells from acorns and chestnuts. The meat from the nuts could be ground into flour or used as pig feed. France, 1800's-1900's. The brine created in the process was also used in the leather curing process.

And the winner is: Cassandra. Please email me directly with your address and I will send off your prize.

The Bata Museum is currently featuring dancing shoes. As an ex dancer, and a mum whose girls danced their little tootsies off before they found the opposite sex, I was fascinated.


Before the nineteenth century, dancers dance in whatever shoes were fashionable at the time. This is a pair of mid 18th century shoes. They are quite lovely.








As you can see from this picture above, they did indeed dance in this kind of shoe.

Then came the classical era, the Regency, all flowing lines, strait skirts, and empire waists. With them came a soft slipper with low heels. And dancers loved them. By the way, during this period, all shoes were "straights". That is there were no left or rights, the wearer simply wore them in, until they fitted the foot. This is true of dance slippers today, as I am sure you know.

As you can see, this pair of ballet slippers, is is not much different to the shoes our Regency ladies wore in the street, but dancers loved them.

And so when they went out of fashion for everyday where, they remained (with adaptations) on the stage.

Here are some early examples. It is here that I must tell you that dancing "en pointe" did not come into being until 1832. And the first dancer en pointe was a man.

But the ladies did not leave it there for long.

The museum had a wonderful history of ballet shoes, their construction and various improvements over the years, but they are all post Regency, and therefore not really relevant.

I do have one more set of pictures and stories about shoes, so until next time, Happy Rambles (and keep your feet dry).