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  1. #1
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    Footwear in Highlanders of Scotland

    The 56 kilted gents portrayed by watercolour artist Kenneth MacLeay and published as The Highlanders of Scotland represent by far the largest single record of Victorian civilian Highland Dress.

    A while back I posted a thread where I look at all the sporrans. A second thread compared sporran cantles pictured in MacLeay with similar surviving vintage cantles which demonstrated repeatedly MacLeay's amazing eye for detail.

    Now I want to focus on the footwear. In every way the Highland Dress shown in MacLeay exhibits far more variety than exists today: more variety in bonnet styles, jacket styles, sporran styles, and shoe styles.

    A numerical breakdown of the shoes:

    Mary-Jane style shoes: 25 (in around seven different styles)
    Ghillie Brogues 11
    Ordinary Brogues 10
    Buckle Loafers 5
    Ankle Boots 3
    Spats 1 (a military man)

    A numerical breakdown of the hose:
    Diced 30
    Tartan 13
    Selfcoloured 11 (5 taupe, 5 grey, 1 charcoal)
    Over-checked 1
    Stags-head motif: 1

    Mary-Jane style shoes:
    One may object to me using this name but since there are other, quite different, shoes with buckles the generic term "buckle brogues" is in sufficient.

    They exist in a form not too unlike today's; note the toe-cap curves backward at the bottom, rather than being straight across. The buckles are plain.



    This has an extra layer, almost a double cap; the buckles are engraved



    More ornate buckles



    Now we come to ones retaining the decorative lower buckle, but lace at the top



    Others retain the buckle at the top but omit the decorative buckle below





    There are a couple pair with buckles above, which oddly lace below



    Including these, in brown, perhaps the nicest shoes and hose in HOS



    Most curious are shoes in a middle ground between Mary Janes and Ghillie Brogues



    Right about now many of you are saying things to yourself about "artistic licence" and such.

    However shoes very much like the pair above appear in this catalogue from the 1920s, once again proving MacLeay's eye for detail.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 25th March 20 at 05:38 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  3. #2
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    Now onto the shoes we call Ghillie Brogues.

    Nearly all are rough tan leather.

    Some are very much like today's, with four pairs of tongues for the laces; note once again the cap style.



    Others have three pairs of tongues for the laces



    Most, however, only have two pairs of tongues for the laces









    Black Ghillies are rare in HOS



    The other black pair has decorative nonfunctional buckles at the toes. This gentrification of the rough tan rustic Ghillie was to pick up steam as the 19th century drew to a close; by the 1920s black Ghillies with buckles were considered proper Evening Dress shoes



    An odd type of Ghillies that does not appear in HOS was seen in a Victorian photo...ankle Ghillies, one could say.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 25th March 20 at 08:06 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  5. #3
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    Thank you OC for the confirmation. I'm just about to invest in buckled brogues " that most sites" frown upon. I like the look. Different. Elegant. Stylish. Uber cool.
    South African military veteran. Great grandson of Captain William Henry Stevenson of the Highland Light Infantry, Scotland (1880's) and brother to Infantryman Peter Mark Schumann of the 2nd Transvaal Scottish, South Africa (1980's).

  6. #4
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    Thanks!

    The third most-common shoes in Highlanders of Scotland are ordinary brogues



    Next come what I call "buckle loafers" which are sometimes low-cut and appear to be slip-on, sometimes higher cut so the buckles might be functional. These were the shoes worn by Army officers in Levee Dress in Victorian times (late replaced by the Mary Jane style).







    And also the popular Victorian ankle boots. Only three men in HOS are seen wearing these, but they're quite common in Victorian photos of kilted men.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 25th March 20 at 06:01 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  8. #5
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    An interesting survey of 19th c. Highland footwear. I can see how it evolved into the footwear kilted men wear today. I suspect such footwear was for the well-to-do, with the lower classes going barefoot or with homemade shoes. As an 18th c. Highland reenactor, I am mostly interested in the types of footwear worn then, which I classify as barefoot (with or without footless hose), cuarans (sometimes called pampooties - made from raw cow or deer hides with the hair on and held on with thongs around the ankles), turn shoes (a town-made shoe for the gentry), and town-made welted buckle shoes (for the gentry for wearing in town). I was interested to see that the 18th c. style buckle shoes survived into the 19th c.

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  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orvis View Post
    As an 18th c. Highland reenactor, I am mostly interested in the types of footwear worn then...cuarans (sometimes called pampooties - made from raw cow or deer hides with the hair on and held on with thongs around the ankles)
    I've read the well-known reference to what seems to be a Highland version of pamputai, but I can't recall seeing an image of anything like that being worn. What evidence is there for these? Surviving artifacts? Appearance in iconography?

    The Ghillies that appear in The Highlanders Of Scotland, roughout tan leather, do appear rustic and perhaps evolved from earlier Highland shoes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orvis View Post
    turn shoes (a town-made shoe for the gentry), and town-made welted buckle shoes (for the gentry for wearing in town).
    In many Highland portraits and in Episode Of The Rebellion the Highlanders appear to be wearing ordinary shoes. Are those the shoes you're referring to? I'm not familiar with the term "turn shoes".

    Quote Originally Posted by Orvis View Post
    I was interested to see that the 18th c. style buckle shoes survived into the 19th c.
    I do wonder whether or not the 19th century Highland buckled shoes functioned like 18th century shoes.

    For sure the ones that appear in The Highlanders Of Scotland come high enough on the foot that it's hard to imagine that they're slip-on. But in many Victorian photos the shoes are quite low-cut and appear to be slip-on loafers with nonfunctional buckles.

    So low-cut that they appear to be, more or less, Mary Janes lacking the top strap

    Last edited by OC Richard; 26th March 20 at 05:10 PM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  11. #7
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    [QUOTE=OC Richard;1383942]I've read the well-known reference to what seems to be a Highland version of pamputai, but I can't recall seeing an image of anything like that being worn. What evidence is there for these? Surviving artifacts? Appearance in iconography?

    The Ghillies that appear in The Highlanders Of Scotland, roughout tan leather, do appear rustic and perhaps evolved from earlier Highland shoes.



    In many Highland portraits and in Episode Of The Rebellion the Highlanders appear to be wearing ordinary shoes. Are those the shoes you're referring to? I'm not familiar with the term "turn shoes".



    I do wonder whether or not the 19th century Highland buckled shoes functioned like 18th century shoes.

    For sure the ones that appear in The Highlanders Of Scotland come high enough on the foot that it's hard to imagine that they're slip-on. But in many Victorian photos the shoes are quite low-cut and appear to be slip-on loafers with nonfunctional buckles.

    So low-cut that they appear to be, more or less, Mary Janes lacking the top strap

    [/QUOTE
    https://www.pornhub.com/view_video.php?viewkey=ph5a3b476fde236
    ]

    With regard to cuarans/pampooties, the primary source of information I have is Burt's "Letters from A Gentleman in the North of Scotland", in which he describes them as "Highland moccasins" cut from raw cow or deer hides (making them smelly after a period of time) and laced to the ankles with the hair grain running toward the rear. With regard to turn shoes, they were a late-medieval/renaissance style of shoe that remained in used in the Highlands a bit later after they were dropped elsewhere in Europe. They were made by assembling the shoe inside-out, then "turning" them right-side out. They had thin soles and no heels and generally laced up. Because they were town-made, I have always attributed them to Highland gentry, especially in the remote places in the Highlands, and probably not much after the 1750s. With regard to buckle shoes, those from the early 18th c. were cut higher and had smaller buckles - by the 1750s, they were cut low enough to slip on (based on finds at Ft. Ligonier, PA). As far as Highanders going barefoot, there is the story of the mid-18th c. gentry woman who was walking to church barefoot one Sunday with her servant woman. When they got within sight of the church, the gentry woman stopped, took her shoes and hose from her servant, put them on and continued to church. After, she took off her shoes and socks, handed them to her servant and continued the rest of the way barefoot.

  12. #8
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    OC Richard,

    Could you post the photo of the ‘stags head motif’ hose you mentioned? This is quite interesting sounding of an idea and I don’t think I had noticed it before.
    “The convents which the fathers had destroyed...the sons, rebuilt…”
    —Hereward the Wake, ‘Of the Fens’

  13. #9
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    There's a photo of them in the original post.

    Somebody here on XMarks had a pair knit like that, very cool.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  14. #10
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    Now let's look at the hose!

    Of the 56 kilted gents, 30 are wearing diced hose.

    Some have the dicing on the turnover cuffs just like modern diced hose do:



    But others have plain (probably marl) cuffs, something that used to be common, but is rarely seen today.



    Here are marl cuffs with elaborate garters tied over them.



    One sees the same thing in the 1858-1861 pre-war uniform of the 79th New York State Militia:



    Next in popularity are tartan hose, very much like those made today. 13 men are wearing them.

    Note the lack of garter flashes; the vast majority of the men have no visible flashes.



    Next in popularity- worn by 11 men- are selfcoloured/plain/solid hose. We see much less variety in colour than we have today; the selfcoloured hose range from brown to grey.

    I would call these "taupe".



    There are three selfcoloured pair with contrasting cuffs, here grey with white



    grey with red



    taupe with olive



    Two pair of hose stand out as unique in Highlanders Of Scotland, this grey pair with blue and red over-check



    and this amazing pair of hose knit with a stag's-head motif



    Over-check hose appear often in Victorian photos. I've not come across another pair of stag's-head hose, but I have seen Victorian photos of hose with thistle motif



    And these with a fleur-de-lis motif

    Last edited by OC Richard; 28th March 20 at 06:36 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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