Shoe Buckle

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shoe buckle  n. a fastening for a shoe, in the form of a buckle, also an ornamental buckle worn on the front of a shoe.

1482   in York Myst. Introd. 40   [Those that] maketh ffisshe-hukes or shobakilles.

1847   Thackeray Vanity Fair (1848) xxxix. 359   A large pair of paste shoe-buckles.



Shoe Buckles in Literature

Montagu's "The Reasons that Induced Dr. S - to write a Poem called the Lady's Dressing Room"

Richardson's "Pamela"

Cleland's "Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure"

Sterne's "Tristram Shandy"

"One, Two Buckle my Shoe" - Henry Bolton, collector of counting rhymes in 1885 said the rhyme was used in Wrentham, Massachusetts as early as 1780



Variety in values of shoe buckles - Old Bailey Records show a range in stolen shoe buckles ranging in value from 1d (27p) http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17730908-14-defend187&div=t17730908-14&terms=shoe|buckle#highlight to 2l (£149.58) http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17681207-9-defend109&div=t17681207-9&terms=shoe|buckle#highlight



Popularity began to decline in the late 1780s and the early 1790s. An appeal was made to Prince George, the Prince of Wales by shoe buckle manufacturers in an attempt to maintain the popularity of the shoe buckle. (document) Holland and Hunt (Hutton) documented the events. (Treatise on the Progressive Improvement and Present State of the Manufactures in Metal 1834)  

https://historicaltexts.jisc.ac.uk/results?terms=shoe%20buckle&date=1693-1810&undated=exclude&variant=variant (show table) 

Not just in UK


Hogarth's "The Rake's Progress" and "The Marriage Contract" (The Countess's Levee)

Hogarth's works, reflecting "modern, moral subjects", illustrate how the shoe buckle may be used in satirical works. "A Harlot's Progress" - the illustration of a young girl whose innocence leads to her into the world of prostitution, and ultimately her untimely death, illustrated through the subtle and symbolic in his prints uses shoe buckles consistently throughout. 


However, the popularity of shoe buckles also took a political turn in both England and France. Whilst in England an appeal was made in early 1792 to "The Royal Conductors of Fashion" from the buckle trade of London and Westminster to halt the change in fashion away from shoe buckles. Whilst Prince George, the Prince of Wales, did attempt to sway the change in styles, he ultimately made very little effect on the lapse of the shoe buckle which were completely out of fashion by 1793 except in court where George had required his courtiers to wear them. https://data.historicaltexts.jisc.ac.uk/view?pubId=ecco-0316700700&terms=prince%20of%20wales%20shoe%20buckle&date=1791-1792&undated=exclude&pageTerms=prince%20of%20wales%20shoe%20buckle&pageId=ecco-0316700700-10 

Meanwhile, in France, the French Revolution started in 1789, and shoe buckles were used as a political statement to show support for the monarchy. To wear an extravagant shoe buckle showed support for the monarchy and was in direct disobedience of the revolutionaries who had declared that all buckles and silver adornments should be donated towards the revolutionary movement.  


Design and Production

Expensive buckles were made in silver but the less expensive ones were made of shiny steel cut to resemble diamonds.

clothing as identity




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