Joseph Richardson, Sr., American, 1711 - 1784
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Gold shoe buckles were a rare luxury reserved for the wealthiest colonists. William Wade of Philadelphia may have originally owned this buckle and its mate, now at the Yale University Art Gallery. The buckles were marked by Joseph Richardson, Sr., one of the leading silversmiths in colonial Philadelphia, as well as the second of three generations of his family to work at that trade. They are an early American example of the Rococo style, which first appeared in England in the 1730s. The cast and chased ornament exhibits in miniature the full Rococo vocabulary of shells, scrolls, and leaves.