17TH CENTURY | CHOPINES / CLOGS | SHAKESPEARE & THE SHAKESPEARE GUIDE TO ITALY

Zoccoli (clogs) had been introduced sometime in the fourteenth century due to the mud and standing puddles in the many streets and squares that were then unpaved, including St. Mark’s Square. The zoccoli grew to absurd heights and continued to be worn well into the seventeenth century, becoming an item of ostentation among the wealthy. The wealthier the woman, the higher her clogs, some so high she couldn’t walk in them without placing her hands on the shoulders or heads of servants walking along on either side of her.

From: The Shakespeare Guide To Italy by Richard Paul Roe (Harper Perennial, 2011)


Zoccoli | Clogs | Chopines
Source: Book Of The Feet (Simpkin, Marshal & CO., 1847) by Joseph Sparkes Hall
(Patent Elastic Boot Maker To her Majesty The Queen)

"Your ladyship is nearer heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine," 
Hamlet
William Shakespeare | Hamlet | Act 2, Scene 2


Paul Lacroix | Curiosités De La Chaussure
From: Histoire De La Chaussure (Adolphe Delahays, Libraire - Editeur, 1862)

… For your sake, jewel, I am glad at soul I have no other child, for thy escape would teach me tyranny to hang clogs on them … 
Brabantio To Desdemona
William Shakespeare | Othello | Act 1, Scene 3


Venetian Chopine
Photograph Christophe Villard
Source: Romans Musée International de la Chaussure


It is ridiculous to see how these ladies crawl in and out of their gondolas, by reason of their choppines [clogs]; and what dwarfs they appear when taken down from their wooden scaffolds; of these I saw nearly thirty together, stalking half as high again as the rest of the world.

John Evelyn | Diary - June 1645
From: The Shakespeare Guide To Italy by Richard Paul Roe (Harper Perennial, 2011)



1589 | Pietro Bertelli
Venetian Courtesan | Engraving
Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich



FOOTNOTES

Some have supposed that the jealousy of Italian husbands gave rise to the invention of the chopine.

Paul Lacroix
From: Histoire De La Chaussure (Adolphe Delahays, Libraire - Editeur, 1862)



Pianella attributed to Beatrice D'Este
International Footwear Museum Of Vigevano
Photograph: WOP


(Francis) Douce adds (in Illustrations Of Shakespeare - 1839), that "the first ladies who rejected the use of the chopine, were the daughters of the Doge Domenico Contarini, about the year 1670."

Paul Lacroix
From: Histoire De La Chaussure (Adolphe Delahays, Libraire - Editeur, 1862)



Doge Domenico Contarini
Source: Venipedia


 

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