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OBJECT

D1935. Pair of Polychrome Petit Feu and Gilded Models of Shoes

Delft, circa 1765

Each molded with a large gilt-edged floral strap to the front, painted in with a floral sprig, green leaves and purple scrolls on a red dotted ground in a gilded cartouche on the front, the sides with red, purple pink and gilded floral sprigs with green leaves, the red dotted-edged sole continuing around the arch and edged of the light pink heel and a pink sole.

Lengths: 9.7 cm. (3.8 in.)

Provenance: Joseph M. Morpurgo Antiquités, Amsterdam, 1996; Dutch Private Collection

Note: Miniature ceramic shoes like these were sold at annual fairs and markets. Although most examples are undated, some bear dates and initials, indicating that they were offered as gifts on special occasions. Such shoes held romantic, erotic, and whimsical connotations that can be related to the visual puns associated with shoes in contemporary Dutch painting, as well as to the tradition of brides receiving and wearing clogs during the wedding ceremony. The connotation attached to shoes in the seventeenth century as well as in the present ceramic pair indicates that such ceramic shoes may have been exchanged by lovers as a symbol of good luck in marriage.

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