Pair of boots
Great Britain or France
Ribbed silk trimmed with lace and ribbon; leather sole
Given by Dr. F. Spencer
Museum no. T.180&A-1984
The red boots, which are of ribbed silk, come up above the ankle and have a 'military' style heel covered in silk to match the uppers. They have lacing at the back and are trimmed at the top with bobbin lace and ribbons.
Frivolous boots of silk and silk satin, some with high heels, were imported into England from France in the 1860s and 1870s. These French styles were also imitated by English shoemakers. The French influence was due to the stylish Empress Eugenie who had married the French emperor, Napoleon III, in 1853. She was probably responsible for the introduction of the shorter skirt which led to a greater emphasis on stockings and shoes.
Additionally, by about 1860 chemical aniline dyes were widely available. Many of the colours they provided were rather gaudy, such as this bright red.