Artist/maker unknown, French

Made in France, Europe


Paper leaf, engraved, overpainted in gouache, and gilded; carved and pierced ivory sticks and guards

12 11/16 x 24 inches (32.3 x 61 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Bloomfield Moore Collection, 1899

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Additional information:
  • PublicationFans from the Collection

    Dating from about 1680 to 1690, this is the earliest complete fan in the collection. Its bird's-eye view of the gardens and palace of Versailles from the Parterres du Nord with the Pyramid Fountain in the foreground is a celebration of the use of scenic perspective. It is contained within the framework of a Baroque stage, which allows the view to be transformed into the scenery. The interrelationship of the stage and the perspective view underscores the new spatial concepts that were being explored during the seventeenth century in both theater design and view painting. The center section, the view of Versailles, is actually an engraving carefully over-painted in gouache with gilded accents. It is in the style of the French artist Israel Silvestre (1621 - 1691), who drew and engraved many views of Versailles as well as numerous stage designs. The rest of the composition is freely drawn and painted, and the dark background, meticulous realism, and tight handling of form that characterize the floral borders follow closely the traditions of Baroque flower painting. On the reverse, the fan is silvered and painted with a blue scrollwork pattern. The simple carved and pierced ivory sticks and guards, with their serrated edges, are typical of late-seventeenth-century fans and are identical to those on a fan from the famous Walker collection auctioned at Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hoge June 8-10, 1882, in London* and similar to finds recently excavated in archaeological sites in London. The rivet is constructed as an eyelet and was designed so the fan could be threaded with a ribbon and hung from the waist or wrist. Similar eyelets are also found on walking sticks of this period. Dilys Blum, from Fans, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin (1988), p. 6.
    *See Robert Walker, Catalogue of the Cabinet of Old Fans (London, 1882).