Support for display, storage and transportation of shoes with textile uppers and fragile silk trimmings


Both pairs of shoes have silk textile uppers and silk trim.

Condition before treatment

Very poor; shoe uppers, in particular the quarters were misshapen and collapsing in on themselves. The silk decoration and rosettes were extremely fragile.

Client brief/Role of object

Make safe for storage and transportation. Design a system which reduced handling of shoes in storage and display.


Custom-made forms designed to fit inside the shoes provide support for the uppers and the quarters.


Due to the fragile state of the trimmings and rosettes, for storage and transport, the shoes were supported and secured with Velcro® straps to a removeable Tyvek™ covered tray in the box base.

Condition after treatment

This storage system protects and supports the weak and damaged areas of the shoes by negating the need to touch the shoes when lifting them in and out of the box,thus reducing handling; it immobilises the shoes during transportation eliminating the need for contact by packing materials which would damage the silk trimmings. In some cases such purpose-designed support and storage systems reduce the need for more costly and more interventive conservation treatment.

Further information

[TCC 1511]


Reproduced courtesy of Northampton Museum and Art Gallery and the Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton. Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton © 2009.

Kate Gill, TCC conservator

Treatment completed 2000