Important Antique Spade Sole, JOHN McHALE, Suede 7-Eyelet Oxford, Circa 1930: 44D
€850.00SOLD to Herrn O. L., Barsinghausen
Size: 44-44.5 [US.10.5-11] [UK 9.5-10}
Styles: Collectors Shoes/Object d'Art, Oxfords, Suede/Wildleder
London, Ontario – Circa 1930
for the retailer
Ben B. Berke, Detroit
Suede 7-Eyelet Cap-Toe Oxford
The existence of only three pairs of shoes made by John McHale is documented. Two, in private hands, are thought to be of post-war production; the Pair shown here, from the 1930s, is the other. In 1909 McHale established the firm of Scott-McHale with a partner, the businessman Francis Stuart Scott, in London, Ontario and became one of the few Canadian shoemakers to compete in the U.S. with the much larger neighbouring American firms. Nevertheless, as evidenced by the marvelous quality of this present pair of oxfords, McHale was an unsurpassed artist and worked in the North American tradition of dramatic lasting, more radical even than that his great English contemporaries Nicolaus Tuczek and John Lobb. His chisel toe, on the other hand, while splendid, is somewhat less exaggerated than those of the afore mentioned masters. Overall the effect is wonderful and immediately recognizable as either an antique shoe or a custom-made one. This particular pair is a glamourous shoe in near perfect condition. The instep is built around a moulded shank and the sculpted sole is the epitome of the classic shoemaker’s art. But it is not style alone that distinguishes this shoemaker, but the immediately evident fastidious shoemaking skill. Moreover, emblematic of fine shoemaking of the period, the welt is hand-sewn in contrasting coloured stitching. This masterpiece is superior in construction to anything from all but the 3 or 4 best shoemakers in the world today.
McHale’s partner Francis Stuart Scott died 13 Feb 1943 and I cannot find any record of Mr. McHale passing. The firm itself appears to have continued in existence to 1954, although one of the three known pairs is dated 1956. After this no further mention can be found. Rarer than any Tuczek or Cleverley, this magnificent suede oxford is a highly dramatic pair of shoes and beautifully made, in the first category of rarity, a wearable work of art for the advanced collector.
Size Details:US 10,5D…..UK 9,5E…..European 44 D, for the mid-width foot.
All original and near new.