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Fan

Unknown1755/1760

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

A very distinctive type of fan emerged in the mid-1750s. It was inspired by the cabriolet carriage, which Josiah Childs invented in 1755. This style featured two or three separate concentric leaves on the sticks, following the shape of the cabriolet carriage wheel. Indeed this cabriolet fan includes an image of the cabriolet carriage in the centre of the top leaf. Most fans of this style showed pastoral scenes of idyllic landscapes and everyday pastimes.

A fan could conveniently cover a lapse in conversation. A French visitor to England in 1720 remarked that ‘the main conversation is the flutter of fans’.

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  • Title: Fan
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1755/1760
  • Location: France
  • Provenance: Given by Admiral Sir Robert and Lady Prendergast
  • Medium: Gouache on paper, with carved and painted ivory sticks and guards

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