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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world

Aboriginal

Slippers 1920-27

RCIN 63686

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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The shell work tradition in Australia began as a female Aboriginal handicraft. It was adapted and tailored for the tourist market in the late nineteenth century. As early as the 1880s, indigenous women were recorded selling shell baskets, slippers and other souvenirs at Circular Quay and Botany Bay in the Sydney area. They were encouraged by European missionaries, who found buyers for their work inland and overseas. Today, shell work crafts remain popular among international visitors, but they are also increasingly in demand in museums and galleries where they are considered high art.

These slippers may have been a gift to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth when Duke and Duchess of York. They visited Australia in 1927.