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With Colonial Williamsburg Foundation M. De Garsault's 1767 Art of the Shoemaker: An Annotated Translation (Costume Society of America) Hardcover – 15 Sep 2009

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An outstandingly well detailed presentation 18 Dec. 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In an era predating the industrial revolution and the mass production of footwear, shoes were hand crafted one at a time. in 18th century Paris and London there were thousands and thousands of shoemakers who labored at the craft with creating shoes by hand, sometimes transforming ordinary footwear into works of wearable art with their basic tools and materials. With the coming of mass production technologies, the personal art of shoemaking was in danger of being lost because the costs of handcrafted footwear was seriously disadvantaged with the far cheaper footwear mass produced in factory settings. That's why "M. de Garsault's 1767 Art of the Shoemaker: An Annotated Translation" (part of the Texas Tech University Press 'Costume Society of America Series' series is such an invaluable resource and reference. Ably translated and with informative annotations by D. A. Saguto (a master boot- and shoemaker for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation since 1990 and a leader authority on 18th century footware), "Art Of The Shoemaker" is a 304-page compendium of information on all the techniques and tools involved in hand-making shoes. Enhanced with a facsimile of the original French text, impressive illustrations, a glossary of 18th century terms, translations of other thematically relevant 18th-century commentaries on shoemaking, and an extensive bibliography for further studies, "Art Of The Shoemaker" is strongly recommended for both academic and community library Fashion History reference collections, and the supplemental reading lists for students of 18th century period costuming.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
facsimile of 1700's classic on the craft of shoemaking with added content 19 Mar. 2010
By Henry Berry - Published on
Format: Hardcover
De Garsault's original eighteenth-century work on shoemaking and shoes found in facsimile here is much enhanced by scholarly notes to the English translation; excerpts on shoes from other historical writings; annotated introductory material on the history of shoemaking; color photographs of tools, materials, and finished shoes with informed annotations to complement the simpler, plainer illustrations of the original work; a glossary of nearly 20 pages; and extensive bibliography and section of suggestions for further reading. One would not know there was so much to shoemaking, as a glance through the glossary with its many technical and some foreign words and terms attests. All of this is in book of the highest production quality with marbled endpages, expert color photographs (as in a museum catalog), and appealing design and format.

The purpose of the 1700's publication of the now-classic work was as a documentation and reference on the art and crafts of shoemaking. As a Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau asks in his "Forward" in the original as a way of stating the purpose, "Can not one expect new levels of perfection in the arts when scholars, practiced in their different branches of the physical sciences, take the trouble to study and elucidate the often ingenious operations that the artisan carries out in his workshop?" De Garsault's "Art of the Shoemaker" was an illustrated text and manual meant to preserve and make widely available skills and techniques for making shoes in the decades preceding the Industrial Age when many of these operations would come to be done by machines. The French Royal Academy of Sciences could not have foreseen this; but they recognized that society and industry were changing to meet a growing demand for everyday consumer goods from an increasingly democratic, bourgeois class able to purchase and appreciate these. As du Monceau elsewhere explains, "The academics should further apply themselves to clarifying practice in order to subject a number of delicate operations, which depend entirely on the accuracy of the eye or hand and the success of which are only too often uncertain, to certain rules." Author De Garsault accomplishes this sparing no detail. The "delicate operations" depending on "the accuracy of the eye or hand" were like instructions for the design of shoemaking machines in the coming Industrial Age. The translator's Introduction notes, "Mechanization of shoemaking began in the United States"; although this was not not completed until late in the nineteenth century.

The text, illustrations, and Saguto's rich annotations, many of which are like short essays, make for fascinating reading by anyone with an interest in social history, the history of crafts, and in clothing and costume. This "Art of the Shoemaker" is a recent addition to Texas Tech University Press's outstanding and growing series of exceptionally well-illustrated works with content that is both engaging and scholarly relating to what is termed "material culture." Other recent books cover sunbonnets and spurs. Readers and students of social history, consumer goods, manufacturing history, historical crafts, and like topics want to be keeping up with what this publisher is putting out in this field.
This is a classic in 18th century shoe making translated ... 26 Jan. 2015
By Sarah - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a classic in 18th century shoe making translated by one of the current experts in the filed. This is a treasure for anyone involved in costuming or re-enacting of any sort.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 17 Sept. 2010
By EJ - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic book. This book provides excellent information on 18th century shoe making. With no prior knowledge it would certainly be a challenge to create a pair of shoes from this (or any) book but it non the less provides an unparalleled amount of detail and instruction. Includes both the translation and original text as well as illustrations and photographs. The translation is clear and easy to follow though it does contain a certain amount of vocabulary specific to the trade and era.
Five Stars 16 July 2014
By David Jarnagin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book
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