Treading the Bard: Shakespearian Shoes Go on Display

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LONDON.- The Museum of London Docklands is putting a theatrical foot forward this week with a small display of Shakespearian shoes. From an Elizabethan slip-on uncovered at the site of the Rose Theatre, to a slender silk and leather shoe worn by Sir Henry Irving, the charismatic actor who inspired Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, the footwear on show steps through centuries of Shakespearian players and plays. The earliest shoe was preserved in the damp mud of Southwark and is still decorated with pinked zig-zagged patterning – an embellishment common enough that in The Taming of the Shrew it is remarked upon when a servant’s “pumps were all unpink’d i’ the heel.” The pressures on actors at the time are highlighted by