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Hand screen

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    early 1820s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ann Rotton (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour and gilt cut-paper on cardboard, mounted on a turned wood handle.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr Geoffrey Huskisson Borrough

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case V, shelf 4, box E

In the eighteenth and nineteenth century screens such as this were used when sitting at the fireside to protect the face from the damaging effects to the skin of the heat. They were often hung at the side of the fireplace or rested on the mantlepiece above. Free standing fire screens or pole screens were also used.

This screen, with its turned handle, would probably have been acquired readymade as would the gilt paper decoration. However the painted scene, fixed to the centre, may well have been made by the maker of this screen, probably an amateur artist. 'Cage' handwork of this type was very popular in the 1820s and 1830s where the paper was hand painted and then the 'cage' painstakingly cut to reveal another image when the central thread was lifted.

Physical description

Circular face screen decorated on the front and back with gilt paper, and, fixed to the centre, a rural scene painted on cut paper which can be pulled forward to show a mouse painted on the screen behind. Mounted on a turned wood handle.

Place of Origin

England (made)


early 1820s (made)


Ann Rotton (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour and gilt cut-paper on cardboard, mounted on a turned wood handle.

Marks and inscriptions

Laugh not because the Mouse is caught,
But make allowance due,
Say, has temptation never brought,
A like disgrace on You
Written in pen and ink around the central image


Diameter: 230 mm screen, Diameter: 130 mm cut paper work

Object history note

Ann Rotton, grandmother of the donor, painted the screen before her marriage in 1826 to John Wilkinson Borrough.

Descriptive line

Ann Rotton. One of two hand-painted face screens with gilt paper trimming, mounted on turned wood. Early 1820s.

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

Victoria and Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings Accessions 1953 London: HMSO, 1963


Cardboard; Gold paper; Watercolour; Paper; Wood


Watercolour drawing; Cut paper work; Turning

Subjects depicted

Mouse; Cut paper work


Accessories; Fans; Drawings; Toys & Games; Animals and Wildlife


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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