*Vintage POULSON, SKONE & Co., BESPOKE Calfskin & Antelope Officer’s Wellington Boots & Spurs: 42.5D (US 9.5D)
Size: 42-42.5 [US.9-9.5] [UK 8-8.5]
Styles: Boots/Stiefel, Collectors Shoes/Object d'Art, Evening/Formal, Exotic Leathers, Militaria, Wellington Boots
Army Officer’s Dress Wellington Boot
Antelope over Calfskin
Poulson, Skone & Co.
12, Duke Street, St. James, Lomdon
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.
This particular boot, made to military specifications by Poulson, Skone, Spencers, comes at a time when the George Boot was slowly replacing the Wellington for formal wear, thus it can be said that this boot is among the last to be produced, except by special order. Moreover, the present pair is doubly remarkable for its use of two contrasting leathers. Antelope is as rare today as it was then; in my entire career, I have seen only two or three Wellington Boots employing Antelope leather that were not custom-made. In fact, this boot may well have been a special order, employing hides provide by the gentleman-officer for whom these boots were custom made, a souvenir from shooting game in Africa.
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, an elegant design, handsome worn under or over trousers. The hand-forged spurs (provided) pull out of the heel-jacks easily, for storage or those rare occasions when spurs are not called for (although I cannot immediately think of when that would be).
The history of Poulsen Skone & Co. is well known; established in the 19th century and in continuous operation for 110 years until the death of Sidney Skone; the firm was incorporated into New & Lingwood in 1972. And it was during the 1970s and 1980s that the legendary George Cleverley, in the last years of his illustrious career, oversaw the design aspects of the firm, while the execution was in the first rung of English shoemakers.
Shoes from the heyday of these firms are milestones in the history of English shoemaking, and the few remaining examples, “touched”. as they were by Cleverley are highly desirable and destined for the advanced collector. Through most of the 20th century, Poulson, Skone was a supplier of exemplary dress and parade boots and shoes to the military. With ever dwindling call for ceremonial footwear by the military, coupled with qualified labour shortages across the industry, they merged with New & Lingwood. Their reputation for superior workmanship in their heyday is well remembered and amply evidenced in this superb boot.
Size Details:UK 8.5-9E......US 9.5F......Continental 42.5F, for the medium width foot.
A superb example of this classic boot. Bottoms showing almost no wear. Tops showing general checking, some fraying of the sussets and the often seen markings to the tips, all shown in the photos. Ready to take a coat of polish from the new owner.. Spurs pull out and reinstall easily.