PLATE VIII

CHOPINES

No. 1

ONE of a pair of chopines, or tall clog. The soles, 4 inches thick, are built of cork, and are, with their latchets, covered with grey ribbed silk; a large silk rosette, originally of salmon-pink, but now faded to a grey colour, is fastened on the instep and covers the lacing eyelet holes.

No. 2

ONE of a pair, for the right foot, of similar shape to the previous one, but of coarser workmanship and made of black leather; the soles of these are 5˝ inches high, and are constructed of layers or small blocks of cork, the centre being hollow; the outer sides retain some traces of painting. The above are in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

No. 3

AVERY elegant chopine, of wood covered with white leather, having a kind of sandal, in which the wearer’s foot was. placed, and provided with a broad base to give a better balance. Its height is 12 inches, and is an excellent example of the Venetian chopine. In the British Museum.

The chopine is said to be of Eastern origin, and representations of these articles of foot-gear may be found in pictures of Turkish ladies in the time of our Queen Elizabeth. Hamlet, when speaking to one of the lady actors, says, “By ‘r lady, your ladyship is nearer heaven than when I saw you last by the altitude of a chopine.” They were made of wood, or cork, often eighteen inches high, and covered with leather of various colours, and not unfrequently decorated with painted designs. They were introduced into England from Venice as late as 1670, though probably were never in very common use in this country. Their great height rendered it necessary for the wearer to be supported by men, or maid servants, when walking.

It is asserted that when Charles I. met his future Queen, Henrietta Maria, at Dover, “he cast his eyes towards her (she seeming higher than report was, reaching to his shoulder), which she perceiving, showed him her shoes, saying to this effect, ‘Sir, I stand upon mine own feet, I have no help of art; thus high I am, and am neither higher nor lower.”’

Evidently intending the King to understand that she was not standing upon chopines.