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H4448-33 Postillion boot with spur, mens, leather / metal, and identification tag, paper, maker unknown, [France] / England, c. 1790. Click to enlarge.

Postillion boot with spur

Made in France, c 1790.

This postillion boot 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, sho...

Summary

Object No.

H4448-33

Object Statement

Postillion boot with spur, mens, leather / metal, and identification tag, paper, maker unknown, [France] / England, c. 1790

Physical Description

Postillion boot with spur, mens, leather / metal, and identification tag, paper, maker unknown, [France] / England, c. 1790

Mens single right straight thigh boot (postillion), [welted] construction with square domed toe over rounded square sole and stacked heel. Boot consists of black leather upper featuring a straight vamp seam at waist, rigid leg to knee with extra layer to top, all front seamed with outside right leg and front top cut higher. Spur rest stitched to the centre back and angled away from the back. The original spur leather is incomplete at the bottom with two leather straps, buckles and D buckle attached. Upper decorated with a pair of leaves between two rows of stitching and a row of stitching around the top edge, scallops and circles at the original centre of spur leather with two rows of stitching each side. Lining consists of a roll of leather at top edge of leg, probably padded. Stacked leather heel has four lifts, a slight kickup in centre and wrought nail head.

Paper tag from unknown institution, inscribed 'No 33 / One Postillion Boot / with spur & Pad / Tudor Period'

Marks

Identification tag with handwritten text in brown ink, 'No 33 / One Postillion Boot / with spur & pad / Tudor Period'

Dimensions

Height

618 mm

Production

Notes

This postillion boot was made possibly in France around 1785-1795. Footwear specialist June Swann notes: 'Postillion boots were worn mostly in the 18th century. See R.E.J. Weber "Postillionsstiefel", 1964. Leg has been treated with pitch over a fire. Spur - crude wrought steel spur 165mm diameter with arms of rowel 52mm. Rowel simple sheet of iron, now broken. 17-early 18th c. style. Hook on other side now attached to 19th century brown leather strap on side of boot. NB both buckle and hook would have attached to the missing part of the original spur leather.'

Made

France c 1790

History

Notes

This postillion boot with spur made in around 1785-1795 is part of the Museum's significant Joseph Box collection. 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'.

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

Cite this Object

Harvard

Postillion boot with spur 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 15 October 2019, <https://ma.as/239629>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/239629 |title=Postillion boot with spur |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=15 October 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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