MELNOTTE Satin Ball Shoes, black rosette, ca. 1850
Place of origin: Paris (made)
Date: ca. 1850 (made)
Artist/Maker: Melnotte (maker)
Materials and Techniques: Satin, silk, linen and leather stitched with cotton thread
The elegant flat satin lady's slipper first became popular in England and France during the last decade of the eighteenth century. Its plain design was part of the movement in fashion away from what were considered by some to be the extravagant excesses of the late eighteenth century. The move was towards a simpler, purer style of dress and footwear that was influenced by designs from classical antiquity.
Slippers or 'sandal shoes', continued to be worn well into the mid-century although by the 1850s they were used mainly for formal wear in black or white. This pair of shoes is a typical example of that style which was popular in both France and England. The thin leather sole and delicately hand-stitched satin uppers were relatively simple and cheap to produce. Original ribbons for tying around the ankles. Decorated with a rosette on the vamp.
Melnotte, the manufacturer of this pair of slippers, had outlets in London and Paris. While he almost certainly employed many outworkers, he also liaised with a web of other shoemakers, see Dufossee. The paper maker’s label stuck onto the insole of each shoe ensured the customers did not forget who supplied them, and gives the addresses of Melnotte’s outlets at Old Bond Street and Rue de la Paix. Excellent condition. Very rare to find.