Fans were first used in Western Europe in the Middle Ages. Many of the more intricate ones carried concealed knives or stilettos, as it was often dangerous to walk alone after nightfall or in a dark alley, especially in Renaissance Italy. Fans were of course functional, serving to keep off flies, shield one from the heat of a fire, or create a current of fresh air. Gradually, fans became an almost essential accessory for the fashionable, and no skill or expense was spared in their design and manufacture.
At the beginning of the 19th century, fans were considered an indispensable dress accessory for ladies attending balls and other functions. Three major types of fan were in use at that time.
Folding fans, the most common, consisted of leaves mounted on sticks which were joined at the foot. Paper was used in the cheaper fans, but parchment, made from the skin of young turkeys or silk were preferred in the more expensive varieties. The leaves were richly gilded and painted, often with Neo-classical motifs and scenery spreading across the leaves, so that they presented a panoramic effect when the fan was fully-extended. more...Some were made of lace, allowing the lacemakers of France, Brussels and Nottingham to display their skills, The ribs and guards were made of exotic woods or ivory, embellished with tortoiseshell, silver or gold mountings. Mother-of-pearl and boulle inlays were fashionable, and semi-precious stones and pearls were also favoured, especially in fans decorated in the Art Nouveau style.
The brise fan, in which the leaves were replaced by broad-bladed sticks held in place by a ribbon threaded through slots at the broad end, was also popular at this time, and the broader surface of the sticks afforded greater scope for Art Nouveau decoration.
The fashion for all things oriental included Japonaiserie open fans with broad leaves of parchment painted in oriental styles.
Because of their fragile nature, fans are often damaged: the fabric or other material has started to rot, the tassels are missing, or the ivory or shell is cracked.
119 item(s) found:
These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.
Tim Goodchild, (20th century), Ko Ko + Ko Ko and Nanki Poo, costume designs for the Mikado, Sydney opera house 1985 (2), gouache and ink, each signed and dated lower right, 22.5 x 43.5 cm fan, 32 x 27.5 cm. Provenance: The collection of Ron O'Mullane O
Tortoise shell fan having eighteen panels, eck pierced with floral detail & carved with butterflies. Bound with silk & with a tortoisesheel latch to the base. Condition: good, minor age related wear. Length 20.5 cm
A French mother-of-pearl and Brussels lace fan, circa 1880s, the belle epoque folding fan with mother-of-pearl sticks and ivory supports for the delicate cream floral Belgian lace, with a cream silk tassel, width 56 cm
An Oriental ivory BRISE fan and a bone letter opener. Mid 20th century. The folding fan with each stick crisply pierced with patterns and typically joined with a running ribbon; the small letter opener with a row of carved and pierced elephants and an elep
French 19th century ivory & silk fan in box, hand painted with a female holding a bird, overall length approx 30 cm. Box in cream silk and hand painted with pink, yellow and white flowers, green stalks and leaves. J. Duvelleroy, by appointment 167 Rege
A fan, Zhu Baoci (1880-1950), Xiao Xun (1883 - 1944), tan Guohuan (19th to 20th), Chen Fangao (1867 - ?), Shou Nie (1885 - 1949), Peng Hanhuai (1876 - 1952) and Zhu Bangjin (19th to 20th), various subjects, 1929 to 1931, all signed, five dated 1929, two da
A signed French painted bone brise fan, late 19th to early 20th century, the dainty fan, laced with ribbon and painted to one face with cherubs contemplating a garland of roses, signed indistinctly to one of the sticks. Width 34.5 cm.
A fan, tortoiseshell and black lace, circa 1900 Having tortoiseshell slats, interleaved with ruffled black lace, with the last slat bearing the inscription "Nellie" in raised rose gold Provenance: presented by Dame Nellie Melba to Emmy Smith-Palm
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