Archive for May, 2013

18th Century Paste Buckles – Posting From France

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

As a treat for being attentive little readers and staying loyal even though I’ve missed a couple of weeks, I reward you with a blog post from France! A group of several of us 18th century costuming enthusiasts got together and let an 18th century chateau for two weeks, located in Pys, in the south of France, about 40 minutes from Toulouse. This is a magnificent place, and although the pictures speak loudly for themselves, a few additional words would not be untoward.

This is the second brainchild of Kendra Van Cleave and Trystan Bass – the first was a costuming event held at Blo Norton Hall in Norfolk, England back in 2010 (read Kendra or Trystan’s posts on the topic). We had such a delightful time dressing up in a 16th century manor house, cooking period food, singing songs, dancing, and the like that we had to reprise our visit, but this time, in an 18th century chateau in France! And, just so you know that I’m not making this all up, here is a picture of my shoes in front of the chateau itself (look very closely for the two small black bumps in the center next to the glass of champagne).

What does all of this have to do with Paste Buckles, you might ask? I’m so glad you asked!

Cover it with your apron…

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Many of the illustrations of the medieval and renaissance show shoemakers working without any visible form of apron to protect their clothes. However, as you get to the 15th and 16th centuries, aprons become more common, and once you are in the 17th century, one is hard pressed to find a shoemaker or cobbler without an apron. By the 18th century, it is documented as an essential part of the shoemaker’s kit in Garsault’s work on shoemaking. As such, let us focus on the earlier examples which are fewer and far between.

There are many tradeskills that require the use of an apron, from bakers, cooks, and black smiths, to name just a few. Their aprons differ from each other in some ways, but as this focus is on shoemakers, we will focus on evidence accordingly, but noting that other trades can often wear similar aprons. As a cookie, here is an image from the 1555 “Das Hausbuch der Mendelschen” in the Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg showing a waist-tied apron.

Most of the bona fide images of shoemaker’s aprons come from the 15th and 16th centuries, though the aprons styles reflected could also have been worn by other trade skills as mentioned above.