Man's Berlin Wool Work Slippers

Artist/maker unknown, American

Made in United States, North and Central America

c. 1850-1875

Linen plain weave with wool embroidery in cross stitch (Berlin wool work) and glass and metal beads; leather

10 1/4 x 3 1/2 inches (26 x 8.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley W. Root, Jr., 1978

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In the privacy of his home, a man might indulge in brilliantly colored and wildly patterned accessories that would have been unsuitable in the public sphere. These slippers are in Berlin wool work, the most popular form of needlework in both America and Europe during the mid-nineteenth century, made by stitching brightly colored wool imported from Germany through canvas. Accented by shiny beads, the work was probably crafted from a published pattern by a loving family member, who then had the slippers professionally made.