*PEAL & CO. Vintage BESPOKE Shell Cordovan & Antelope Officer’s Wellington Boots: 43-43.5D

1,220.00

  • Army Officer’s  Dress Wellington Boot
    Bespoke – Antelope over Black Shell Cordovan
    Peal & Co.
    Circa 1960
    Euro 1220

    The Wellington boot dates from the early 19th century and is based upon the 18th century Hessian boots.  It was popularized by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington who instructed his shoemaker, Hoby of St. James’ Street, London, to modify the 18th century Hessian boot by removing the trim, cutting it more closely to the leg and ending it at mid-calf.  With a semi-pointed toe and low stacked heel, it was an ideal cavalry boot, durable and protective in battle and yet comfortable out of the saddle. The Wellington boot quickly became a standard officers boot for both uniform and evening dress, and soon became fashionable among the British aristocracy as well.

    First let us dispel any similarity to Brook Brothers products marketed under the Peal name. This is a bespoke/custom made boot actually made by Peal & Co. before its dissolution.  Moreover, the present pair is doubly remarkable for its two leathers rarely in use in the mid-century. Cordovan was decades away from gaining popularity in England or on the Continent and the few Cordovan shoes from the period are all custom made. Antelope is as rare today as it was then, I see one or two Wellington Boots a year but this is the only pair in Antelope I have seen in my entire career. It is very likely that the gentleman-officer for whom these boots were custom made provided the hide to Peal himself, a souvenir from shooting game in Africa.

    Please notice the spur-jacks in the heels; many regiments wore spur to formal dinners. (Spurs provided separately; please inquire.) Finally, it would be fair to say this is an extremely rare item, something for the collector but eminently wearable for formal or casual dress, with or without the removable spurs, an elegant design, handsome worn under or over trousers.

    History of the firm: “Peal and Co were founded in 1565 and were the oldest-established and most successful makers in the world, employing up to 200 staff. The firm was established in Durham and moved to Derby in 1765, reaching London in 1791. In 1953 Peal bought their Oxford Street neighbours, Bartley and Son, inheriting their Boot and Fox emblem and moved to Wigmore Street in 1958. The business closed early in 1965, when the family decided that lack of family succession, a declining trade and shortage of skilled staff made closure their best option. The closure of Peal and Co was very helpful to the remaining shoemakers in London including Foster and Son, who acquired two important assets, the boot and fox emblem and Mr. Terry Moore, Peal’s master last maker. The old Peal lasts are still said to be in use by Foster & Son.

    Peal & Co. counted among their clients, luminaries from both sides of the Atlantic, among them (a much shortened list);

    Fred Astaire
    Ethel Barrymore, John Barrymore
    Humphrey Bogart & Mrs. H Bogart (Lauren Bacall)
    Sir Charles Chaplin
    Gary Cooper
    Mrs. Walt Disney
    Sir Douglas Fairbanks
    Henry Fonda
    James Garner
    Cary Grant
    Rex Harrison
    Boris Karloff
    Steve McQueen
    Sir.John Mills
    Sir David Niven
    Sir Laurence Olivier
    Mary Pickford
    Mrs Rudolph Valentino
    Guy de Rothschild
    Henry Ford II & Mrs H Ford
    Benny Goodman
    Dean Martin,
    Jehudi Menuhin
    Richard Avedon
    Lady Violet Bonham Carter nee Asquith, 40 Gloucester Sq.,
    Mrs. Neville Chamberlain
    Rt. Hon Sir Anthony Eden KG
    Dean G Acheson, US Secretary of State
    Barry Goldwater, Senator
    Edward L Kennedy
    John F Kennedy
    Mr. Marx of Berlin c/o Dr W Smith, West Lodge, West End Lane, Hampstead
    Col. Elliott Roosevelt, son of FDR & Eleanor
    Theodore Roosevelt
    HM King Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor
    Hon F Bowes-Lyon, brother of the Queen Mother
    F J Bowes-Lyon, Grenadier Guards
    Lady Rosemary Spencer Churchill
    Lord Louis Mountbatten
    Duke of Westminster
    Prince Aga Khan
    Princess Eugene of Belgium
    King of the Hellenes (Greece)
    Crown Princess of Greece
    Prince Nicholas of Greece
    Prince Peter of Greece
    Crown Prince Constantine of Greece
    Crown Princess of Japan
    King & Crown Prince of Norway
    Prince Christian of Schleswig Holstein
    Crown Prince of Sweden
    Queen Marie of Yugoslavia


    Size Details:

    By my precise measurement using shoemaker's lasts of known size: UK 9E.....US 10D.....Continental 43-43.5D, for the medium width foot.

    Shoe Condition:

    Near new, showing trivial wear.

Article Number: 13662BL-1 Category:

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