This pair of shoes was invested with a celestial air within a collection which contained numerous references to death and the afterlife.
The sculpted heel in the shape of an angel is accompanied by the forms of feathers in relief along the sole of the shoe. A pair of silver embroidered wings frame the foot, suggesting imminent flight. This sense of motion is strengthened by the angel’s resemblance to a figurehead poised at a ship’s prow.
The shoe’s dramatic sculptural flourish suggests a possible reference to seventeenth-century master woodcarver Grinling Gibbons. Gibbons was known for his highly detailed work that involved both carvings in relief – as in the case of the swags of fruits and flowers on a decorative overmantel and intricate openwork carving, as demonstrated in a limewood cravat. The embrace of traditional craftsmanship for these accessories is also a departure from the technology driven shoe designs of Plato’s Atlantis, the collection which preceded this one.