Mercantile Trade

circa 1750

The Fan Museum

The Fan Museum
London, United Kingdom

Fan with carved, pierced, gilt and painted ivory sticks; a central vignette painted with an episode from the myth of Ganymede and Jupiter.

The single vellum leaf is painted on the recto with a dockside scene with, in the foreground, workers loading and unloading cargo including Chinese porcelain. The architecture would suggest a European location, though probably imaginary.
The principal sea vessel depicted can be identified as a Royal Navy warship flying a blue ensign flag, with smaller yachts in the surrounding water. There is a plain blue flag similar to that of Amsterdam (in use during the 1700s) flying from the port, which may be an allusion to location.

Similar dockside scenes, particularly Dutch harbour scenes, are depicted in the work of Leonard Knijff (1650 - 1722) and Abraham Willaerts (circa 1603 - 1669).

The verso is painted with flowers.


  • Title: Mercantile Trade
  • Date Created: circa 1750
  • Location: England
  • Physical Dimensions: 27.5 cm
  • Type: Fan
  • Medium: Ivory, vellum, oil paint, gilt

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