Ribbed silk Oxford shoe

Made in Great Britain, 1880-1889.

This Oxford shoe comes from an important collection of footwear and shoemaking objects thought to have been initiated by the London shoemaker, Robert Dixon Box, and consolidated by his son, Joseph Box and the Box Kingham family during the second half of the 1800s. The collection ranges from remnants of leather shoes from the Middle Ages found in English archaeological sites, to intact European shoes from the 1600s onwards, ‘foreign’ shoes collected as ‘curiosities’ from around the world, shoe bu...


Oxford shoe, [womens], ribbed silk / gilt filigree / cut steel / lace / leather, maker unknown, England, c1880-1889

Single straight [womens] front laced Oxford shoe, turnshoe construction with round toe and covered Louis heel. Shoe consists of upper of ribbed silk with winged vamp, 4 pairs of eyelets with wide laces, and back seamed quarters. Upper decorated with metal filigree in scallops on the vamp and quarters extended into scrolls at the back seam with similar filigree cage over the heel. Filigree is trimmed with cut steel beads. Ribbed silk tab is stitched over the lacing and is also decorated with metal filigree forming an oval cartouche with diamante stone in centre. Attached is a gilt tassel, (one missing). Edges trimmed with machine made lace and upper lined with linen and white kid with white kid sock.


150 mm
60 mm


According to footwear specialist June Swann, this Oxford shoe was made in England in the 1880s. The 1965 Box collection list records the made date as 1890.


This shoe made in around 1880-1889 is part of the Museum's significant Joseph Box collection. The 1965 Box collection list describes the ribbed silk Oxford shoe as 'Half of a pair given to William Box Kingham by T.W. Greig at Glencarse' (June Swann's notes have recorded this as 'Glencarrie' which is incorrect.)

Joseph Box Ltd had its origins in a London shoemaking business established in 1808 by a 'ladies shoemaker' called James Sly. From 1816 Sly's apprentice was Robert Dixon Box, the fifteen-year-old son of a bankrupted Quaker attorney. Box was to become manager of the business when Sly died in 1826, and gained a reputation for fine shoemaking through its participation at international exhibitions and by obtaining Royal Warrants. The business became known as Joseph Box Ltd in 1862 after it was transferred to Robert's son, Joseph. Like his father, Joseph started in the trade at the age of 15, but retired at the relatively early age of 42 to enable his daughters to enter society. Although he transferred the business to his cousins the Box Kinghams in 1882, Joseph maintained an active interest in shoemaking through collecting. At the end of the century the business was later taken over by royal shoemakers Gundry & Sons, which was itself taken over by John Lobb Ltd some time after 1953.

The collection acquired by the Museum in 1942 was probably started by Robert Dixon and consolidated by Joseph Box and the Box Kinghams during the second half of the 1800s. It includes remnants of leather shoes from the Middle Ages found in English archaeological sites, intact European shoes from the 1600s onwards, 'foreign' shoes collected as 'curiosities' from around the world, shoe buckles and spurs, as well as documents relating to Joseph Box Ltd.

Footwear scholar, June Swann, former Keeper of the Boot and Shoe Collection at the Northampton Museum in England was invited to catalogue this very significant collection in 1993. A large selection was subsequently featured in the Museum's 1997 exhibition and accompanying publication 'Stepping out: three centuries of shoes'.

Mitchell, Louise, with Lindie Ward, 'Stepping out: three centuries of shoes', Powerhouse Publishing, Sydney, 1997
Kingham, William Box

Cite this Object

Ribbed silk Oxford shoe 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 23 November 2017, <https://ma.as/239611>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/239611 |title=Ribbed silk Oxford shoe |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=23 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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