Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1765 - 1775 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk mount, painted with applied spangles, cut straw and feathers. Carved and pierced ivory sticks and guards with applied silver and gold jewelled studs

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a folding fan. It is made with a pleated, decorated leaf attached to a set of carved and pierced ivory sticks. A fan was an essential accessory in the formal dress of a wealthy woman. Although its original function was to cool the face, the fan soon became an important tool in non-verbal communication. The manner in which a lady held and moved her fan conveyed her feelings toward those around her. The fan leaf shows an image of a finely dressed young man and woman in the costume of the 1770's, standing together in conversation. The delicately painted figures stand within an idyllic pastoral landscape scene. It has been suggested that pastoral images often found on fans were visions of escape to the countryside for wealthy people adapted by fan painters from the art and literature popular at the time. This fan is decorated using a variety of materials and techniques. The fan maker has imaginatively used shiny and coloured materials such as dyed straw, feathers and sequins to give added richness of colour. These materials would catch and reflect candlelight. Applied feathers are used to make two pheasants at either side of the fan leaf, shown perching on branches. The same techniques are used to depict two winged insects nearby, while coloured straw is used to represent foliage.

Physical description

Silk mount, painted central group dressed in late 1760s/early 1770s fashion standing in a landscape, encircled by tiny metal spangles and expanding outwards from the circle, wreaths of flowers, birds and butterflies. Painted stems and branches with cut straw in shape of petals, dyed pastel green and apricot, forming flowers. Birds plumage and butterflies wings made up of applied feathers. The whole mount encirled by tiny spangles and edge of the mount painted gold and red swirling border. Ivory sticks and guards, carved and pierced with applied silver and gold jewelled studs.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1765 - 1775 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silk mount, painted with applied spangles, cut straw and feathers. Carved and pierced ivory sticks and guards with applied silver and gold jewelled studs


Length: 275 mm, Width: 514 mm

Descriptive line

Painted silk with applied cut straw, feathers and spangles and ivory guards and sticks, England, 1765-1775


Silk (textile); Paint; Spangle; Straw; Feather; Ivory; Metal


Painting; Applied work; Carving; Piercing




Textiles and Fashion 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.