I have, of late, been perusing some books and papers dealing with the wonderful clothing of the long 18th century as I work on edits of Mistress of Blackstairs. Although Moineau is a most well-dressed lady and certainly enjoys the best of everything, the gentlemen of her acquaintance are slightly more prosaic. Certainly, I cannot see any of them wearing the most remarkable shoe shown below!
I discovered this shoe within the pages of a 1904 book entitled Royal and Historic Gloves and Shoes. Written and illustrated by William Beales Redfern, the book was published in 1904 by Methuen & Co and is a catalogue of photographs of royal shoes and gloves through the ages, each black and white photograph accompanied by a short paragraph of explanatory text, as seen below.
This gentleman's leather shoe with its ornate silver buckle is, of course, notable for its six inch height height. Sadly we cannot know who it was intended for, nor whether it ever graced royal feet. A salon visitor has posited that perhaps the show was intended to correct or disguise a physical impairment or perhaps even a limping gait but I think a shoe of this height would be more likely to cause such an issue.
It is a shame we will never know the story behind this remarkable footwear but then, perhaps there is a tale just waiting to be told and this shoe is a part of it!