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  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Mother of pearl, pierced, carved and gilded.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by H.M. Queen Mary.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Brisé fans have no fan leaf and are comprised of fan sticks held in place by a silk cord or ribbon. The sticks are often decorated by delicate piercing and carving. The intricate work on these mother of pearl fan sticks create an illusion of lace. Areas of the sticks have been left solid to carry gilded decoration. The fan would have been an opulent accessory, with the combination of mother of pearl and gilding creating a lustrous effect as the fan was handled.

On the fan guards there is a carving of Cupid about to shoot an arrow. Cupid often appears in French and English 18th century fan decoration, alluding to the role of the fan as an instrument of romantic communication and flirtation. In 1711 the journal The Spectator wrote that ‘women are armed with Fans as Men with Swords, and sometimes do more Execution with them’.

Physical description

Brisé fan made of mother of pearl (probably Pinctada maxima), pierced and carved. The sticks have been leftp solid in three areas to form panels that are decorated with gilding. On one side there are gilded floral motifs. On the other side three female figures are depicted.

Place of Origin

France (made)


1800-1850 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Mother of pearl, pierced, carved and gilded.


Length: 28.5 cm Closed, Width: 515 mm Open, Height: 274 mm Open

Object history note

RF number 1952/873.

Descriptive line

Brisé fan in mother of pearl, pierced and carved; made in France, 1800-1850


Mother of pearl; Animal part - Pinctada maxima


Accessories; Fashion; Fans; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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