Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    05/01/1788 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil and pen and ink and watercolour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of Wartski Limited

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case CUP, shelf 5, box A

This is a design for a fan shown open. It has eight different patterns of stick decoration from which the client could choose. There is a plain mount carrying the letter 'M' in an oval. This initial is similar to the cipher of Marie Antoinette, Queen consort of France (1770-1793). Fans were fashionable, personal accessories carried by women as part of dress. The intended weight of the fan is given as six ounces which was important information for the woman who would hold it. The design was drawn by an anonymous designer on the 5th of January, 1788.

The design is inscribed with the price of the fan which was breathtakingly expensive at '6 cent livre' or six hundred livres. In comparison, Jean Bertos, a cook-shop employee who died in 1784, left clothes worth 38 livres which shows how such a fan cost five hundred and sixty-two more livres than the shop assistant's entire wardrobe.

There is a close relationship between the contents of the album and known work by three Parisian goldsmiths, Jean Ducrollay (1710-1787), Pierre- François Drais (active 1761-1788), and Charles Ouizille (1744-1830) whose names appear on the first page of the album. This suggests that all the designs emanate from their workshops. Drais worked for the Court at Versailles as jeweller to both King Louis XV and Louis XVI. Ouizille worked in this capacity for Louis XVI. Most of the material dates from the period 1755-90.

Physical description

Design for a fan, shown open with eight different patterns of stick decoration and a plain mount carrying the letter 'M' in an oval.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


05/01/1788 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Pencil and pen and ink and watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'fait le 5 janvier 1788 a 6 cent livre'
made on the 5 january for 6 hundred livres
In pen and ink to the bottom left beneath the design.

'Exequté' / 'Executé'
In pen and ink above two of the designs for sticks.

'pois 6. once'
weight 6 onces
In pen and ink at the far left bottom beneath the design.

Two stick patterns inscribed in pencil and marked with a cross.


Height: 28 cm, Width: 36 cm

Descriptive line

Design form album of designs by Ouizille, French, eighteenth century.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Roche, Daniel. The culture of clothing: dress and fashion in the "ancien régime". Birrell, Jean. (translated). Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Heike Zech, 'Designs for Gold Boxes in the Album of the Workshop of Jean Ducrollay and his Successors', in Going for Gold: craftsmanship and collecting of gold boxes, ed. Tessa Murdoch and Heike Zech (Sussex academic press, 2014).

Production Note

Attribution note: There are eight alternative designs for sticks for fans and two are marked 'executé' or executed which is a goldsmith's workshop record that they were made for clients. One has pen and ink marks that suggest that it has been cancelled and another, which has not got the note 'executé', by it also has pen and ink marks suggesting that it has been cancelled because it was made for a client.

The fan when made weighed 6 ounces indicated by the inscription 'poids 6. once'. The price was 6 hundred livres.


Pencil; Ink; Paper


Drawing; Painting

Subjects depicted

Fans and fan-mounts


Accessories; Designs; Personal accessories; Fans


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.

  • Copyright: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2017. All Rights Reserved