Saturday, 28 May 2016

18th century footwear in Scotland

While most of the artwork you see features men wearing straight lasted buckled shoes that was really only the case for the wealthy , even in some period paintings ,Scottish nobles who had money are wearing a basic leather pump shoe with no heel and laces. See the pictures below

The Grant Champion with his flat leather shoes

Major James Fraser of Castle leathers 

It was the Victorians who went crazy on all things Scottish so most artwork from that period shows fancy buckled shoes. Of course they did exist back then but they were too expensive for most people to wear. So pictured below is an original pair of Scottish leather brouges ( that is what they have been refereed too in first hand accounts from the mid 18th century ) . As you can see that are stitched together with leather cord rather than linen , sinew etc and by the looks of them they were made inside out first , stitched together then turned out the correct way. This is how earlier 15th & 16th century  turn shoes were constructed  so in my opinion this type of shoe may have been constructed along similar lines .

If you were to make these shoes , most likely you would make a paper pattern 1st , then a fabric pattern before buying some suitable leather less than 3mm thick otherwise they will be impossible to turn inside out once stitched together. Being flat and having no heel at all it is easy to see why this pair has a huge hole in the heel section. They were designed to be worn in a road less environment and being soft and flexible they would have given the wearer good traction on rough ground.   

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. When I was a la mode, I sometimes wore the soft flat soled brogues that came from the BBC Kidnapped wardrobe. These were deerskin with the hair on the outside.- including the sole on a few. Once that wore off- pretty quickly, they became devilishly treacherous on grass. I recall a story of a highland charge where they all fell down at the bottom of the slope and were bayoneted by the waiting red coats, Glensheil?