18th Century Pattens
Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language defines a “patten” as
A ſhoe of wood with an iron ring, worn under the common ſhoe by women.
The V&A provides some additional context:
Pattens were worn to lift the shoe out of the dirt and damp. Being somewhat heavy and clumsy, they were mainly used by working-class or country women.
Several of the depictions of women wearing pattens (also linked below) are of maids who are using mops.
- Fitting & Proper has a pair of pattens, c. 1700-1800, “wooden soles riveted to wrought iron platforms with straps of brown leather lined with off-white wool”
- 17th/18th century flat-soled patten
- A broken piece of a patten found in an old stone house in England
- Met 2009.300.1485a, b, a pair of European pattens
- DHM (the lower two examples; the upper one is medieval)
- MoL A3635, “patten with wooden sole, two black leather straps and curved metal ring base,” 1710-1720; see also Foreshore finds: treasures from the Thames
- V&A T.43&A-1932, a pair of pattens made in Great Britain in the 1720s to 1730s; “These pattens … have pointed toes to fit a fashionable woman’s shoe and a depression at the back where a small heel could sit. The shoe would have been fastened into the patten by means of ribbon-laced latchets. All this, and the fact that the latchets are covered in velvet, suggests that the patterns were worn by someone of considerable wealth.”
- Manchester 1922.1795, c. 1750-1790; “Black leather with oval iron stands, pink silk ribbon bows, pointed toes.”
- A City Shower (detail) by Edward Penny, 1764
- The Unfortunate Beau, 1772
- Piety in pattens, or, Timbertoe on tiptoe, 1773
- Patty, 1783
- SONS 2739, Connecticut, late 18th century
- Met 2009.300.1640a, b, a pair of pattens made in America in the late 18th century
- Returning from a rout on a rainy night, 1797
- Two pairs of pattens from the late 18th or 19th century
- MFA 44.571a-b, French, early 19th century; “Dark brown leather straps buckle over instep; leather quarters. Square toe. Wood sole mounted on iron ring.”
- PMA 1903-68, United States, early 19th century