Prize work silk brocade mule and document

Made by Bethnal Green Museum in London, England, [1872].

This document and silk brocade mule made as prize work to demonstrate the skill of the shoemaker, featured in the Shoe and Leather Fair, Islington in 1895 and the Bethnal Green Museum Shoe Exhibition held in London, England in 1897. The shoe and document come 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...


Mule, womens, silk brocade / leather / silk, and document, paper, made by George Player, prize work, England / unknown, [1872] / unknown

Womens single straight mule of turnshoe construction with fingertip toe and covered Louis shell heel. Mule consists of fawn cream and turquoise silk brocade upper featuring top edge from mid seat rising to a curved peak in the centre, a blue silk tassel in centre throat, fringe round the top edge and a turquoise stripe across the toe. Seat edge piped in brown/black leather piping. Upper lined in Prussian blue tawed leather and the sock is in brown and gold striped silk. Heel covered in royal blue silk is white stitched. Leather sole features a brown wheeled forepart edge with turquoise stripes adjacent a black fiddle waist and breast.

Paper document with text handwritten in pencil featuring description of shoe and number stamped in top right corner.


100 mm
55 mm


The silk brocade mule was made in England as prize work that was not meant to be worn but pushed the boundaries of fashionable style to demonstrate the skill of the shoemaker. The 1965 Box collection list attributes the mule to George Player, 1872. The shoe also featured as exhibit number 35 in the Shoe and Leather Fair, Islington in 1895 and in the Bethnal Green Museum Shoe Exhibition, London, England in 1897, number 178 described as: 'Shoe; upper of silk brocade with a fine silk fringe; high heel of stiff leather, bent into a crescent and covered with dark blue satin. Made by Player in 1872. Box collection'.

Walford, Jonathon, ' The seductive shoe: four centuries of fashion footwear', Thames and Hudson, London, p. 82
Bethnal Green Museum [1872]

Cite this Object

Prize work silk brocade mule and document 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 November 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Prize work silk brocade mule and document |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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