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  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1886 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Duvelleroy (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ostrich feathers and tortoise shell

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Holland

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

An attractive but optional accessory in the middle of the nineteenth century, fans such as this had become by the last decades of that century an essential part of a fashionable wardrobe, and were made in a great range of shapes, sizes, materials and styles. The huge sleeves and flamboyant flowing lines of late nineteenth century fashionable dress were ideally matched by large dramatic fans. Ostrich feathers had become fashionable in the late eighteenth century, so much so that the species may have become extinct had it not been discovered in the 1830's that they could be successfully farmed. The sticks of this fan are made of tortoise shell, a material which was highly prized in the nineteenth century because of its beautiful appearance and durability. The tortoise shell usually came from the hawksbill turtle, which is now an endangered species. The shell was softened in boiling salted water before being moulded in heated dies.

Physical description

Large fan of ostrich feathers consisting of twenty tortoise shell sticks, including the guards, and with the feathers attached to each one. The ostrich plumes are white with light brown tips. A tortoise shell carrying loop is attached to the base of the sticks, and a brown silk cord with a tassel and a wide ring is tied to this. Still in its original white satin box.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca.1886 (made)


Duvelleroy (made)

Materials and Techniques

Ostrich feathers and tortoise shell

Marks and inscriptions

'Dolores' inset in gilt metal on the back of one guard stick. Inside the lid of the box in gold lettering 'PARIS Duvelleroy PARIS'
'London, 167.Regent Street'


Height: 55 cm sticks and feathers, Width: 91 cm sticks and feathers

Descriptive line

1886c, French; Feather, ostrich


Ostrich feathers; Tortoise shell; Silk cord


Glueing; Moulding


Accessories; Fashion; Evening wear; Fans


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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