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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1790 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Poggi, Antonio Antonio Cesare Poggi Anthony de Poggi (maker)
    Martini, Pietro Antonio, born 1738 - died 1797 (engraver (printmaker))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraved and hand-coloured paper, with carved and pierced ivory sticks and guards

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dagmar and Gladys Farrant in memory of Arthur and Maud Loscombe Wallis

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

George III (reigned 1760-1820) recognised the importance of creating a positive image for the Royal Family. He actively encouraged painters to record his public appearances with the queen and their children. This fan is based on a painting by Johann Heinrich Ramberg and depicts the King and Royal Family attending the Royal Academy Exhibition.

The fan's maker was Antonio Poggi, who worked in London from 1776 to 1799. The novelist Fanny Burney describes a visit to Poggi’s shop in her diary for March 1781. She declares that the fans ‘are more beautiful than can be imagined. One was bespoke by the Duchess of Devonshire for a present, that was to cost £30’.

Physical description

Fan with leaves of engraved and hand-coloured paper, with carved and pierced ivory sticks and guards. The engraving depicts King George III and the Royal Family attending the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1788. Floral decoration frames the scene to left and right, trailing into the top edge, and the fan has strips of gilded paper at its edges. The back is undecorated. The guards are decorated with an urn and flowers. Plain brass pin.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


ca. 1790 (made)


Poggi, Antonio Antonio Cesare Poggi Anthony de Poggi (maker)
Martini, Pietro Antonio, born 1738 - died 1797 (engraver (printmaker))

Materials and Techniques

Engraved and hand-coloured paper, with carved and pierced ivory sticks and guards


Length: 22.5 cm, Width: 1.5 cm closed, Width: 38.4 cm open, Depth: 3.0 cm

Object history note

When the donor offered the fan to the Museum, she wrote that "both articles [a pomander was also given] were shown to some official at the museum by my sister some years ago, and the said official seemed to know that they had come from the Loscombe Collection and felt that they would be an asset to the Museum collection."

The fan is a version of a print by Pietro Antonia Martini, taken from a painting by Johann Heinrich Ramberg (1763-1840), of the King and Queen and their children at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1788. George III was particularly proud of the achievements of the Academy, which he founded in 1768. The room shown is in Somerset House, London, where the Academy was initially based. The Royal Family were recorded in the Great Room there by Ramberg, whose design was engraved by P Martini and published by A Poggi on 6 March 1789, following the King's recovery from illness.

The engraving of the royal visit to Somerset House was very popular and is known in a number of variant forms. For this fan, a third version of the original Martini print, published by Poggi on 11 January 1790, has been used, which omits Sir Joshua Reynolds and other leading Academy figures, and adds three of the King's youngest children to complete a family portrait. The engraved plate had been adapted, so that the printed area was reduced to the size of a fan leaf, and the upper range of paintings removed.

Historical context note

Fans were an important accessory throughout the eighteenth century, all European countries producing them in considerable numbers. They ranged from simple, inexpensive styles with bone sticks and paper leaves to highly ornate versions which used vellum, gold and silver leaf and other inlays. This high quality printed fan, the colours added by hand, has sticks of expensive imported ivory. The maker was Antonio Poggi who had a reputation as both fan maker and painter. He moved from Rome to London in about 1776, possibly in the entourage of Pasquale Paoli, the Corsican patriot (1725-1807). He remained there till after 1803. He himself exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1776 and 1781. Later in his career Poggi set up as a dealer in Old Master drawings, and in 1793 he helped to sell Reynolds’ collections. By 1801 he was supplying drawings to the Prince of Wales (the future George IV).

The English novelist Fanny Burney visited his shop with Reynolds in March 1781. She recorded seeing: ‘… some beautiful fans, painted by Poggi, from designs of Sir Joshua [Reynolds], Angelica [Kauffmann], West, and Cipriani, on leather; they are, indeed, more delightful than can well be imagined: one was bespoke by the Duchess of Devonshire, for a present to some woman of rank in France, that was to cost £30’. This sum of money would have clothed ten labourers’ families in rural southern England for a year at this time.

Comparable fans
Another fan mount in the Museum's collection (museum number E.771-1925) has an almost identical print. See also the print by Martini after Ramberg, museum number 27807, which is dated 1787. Examples in other collections are listed in Roberts, Sutcliffe and Mayor (see refs), including a fan in the Royal Collection. That version has japanned bamboo guards and sticks. RCIN 25074. (Uunfolding Pictures. Fans in the Royal Collection, Royal Collections Enterprises, London, 2005, cat. 29)

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

Avril Hart and Emma Taylor, Fans (V&A Publications 1998), pp.74-5.
Lady Charlotte Schrieber, Fans and Fan Mounts, no. 13.
Jane Roberts, Prudencce Sutcliffe and Susan Mayor, Unfolding Pictures : Fans in the Royal Collection, cat. no. 29


Accessories; Fans; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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