The shoe has been a symbol of good luck for thousands of years. I’m sure you can think of some good luck superstitions involving shoes?
Shoes can be thrown at weddings to wish the couple a good, long and useful life. The shoe was also a sign of fertility and many years ago a boot was often buried in the home of the newly wed couple. Inside the boot was placed a grain of corn, which it hoped would attract mice to nest and breed. From this came the idea that the wife would bear lots of children, who would look after her and her husband. Many Victorian miniature shoes show a mouse playing in the shoe.
Collecting small shoes was especially popular in the Victorian times and after World War Two. The Victorians often gave shoe shaped loved tokens. Even today people have very special relationships with shoes and by extension miniature shoes. People often buy shoe shaped souvenirs on holiday.
Miniature shoes can be made from all sorts of materials including wood, porcelain, leather, copper, silver, plastic, coal and even bread! These shoes are made from porcelain. I’m sure some of you have similar items at home.
They can be seen at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery thorughout October 2011.