Design attributed to Léon Sacré, Belgian

Made in Belgium, Europe


Point-de-gaze lace leaf; carved and pierced mother-of-pearl sticks and guards

Guard length: 14 1/2 inches (36.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. William Carter Dickerman, 1955

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Additional information:
  • PublicationFans from the Collection

    The earliest lace fans known date from the mid-sixteenth century and were composed of lace insertions attached to parchment or taffeta backgrounds. From the seventeenth century on, lace was usually applied directly to the sticks as an unsupported leaf and was a popular choice until the early twentieth century for fans used on special occasions such as weddings. The leaf of this fan is of point de gaze, a Brussels needlepoint lace that became immediately fashionable upon making its appearance at the Great Exhibition of 1851 at London's Crystal Palace. Composed of a ground of interlinking single buttonhole stitches, point de gaze was made in small sections with joints concealed by small sprigs or leaves.

    This fan was most likely designed by Léon Sacré, who won a prize at an industrial exhibition in Brussels in 1883 for a similar fan now in the Musée Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels (Inv. D1601). Putti in the manner of Boucher appear in both; in the Philadelphia fan they are engaged in sketching, swinging, and blowing bubbles amidst floral scrolls, while in the Brussels fan two play musical instruments and the third holds a palette. Similar floral decoration appears on the wedding veil that Sacré designed in 1880 for the Princess Stephanie of Belgium, now in the Museum of American History, Washington, D.C. (Acc. 254382). The elaborately carved mother-of-pearl guards and sticks repeat the floral scrolls in the lace and were probably designed en suite with the fan's leaf. The choice of putti modeled on Boucher and of Rococo-like scrolls are in keeping with the eighteenth-century flavor given to fashions of the early 1880s.

    Lace fans by Sacré were included in the lace display of the Belgian Department at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876. These sold for 200 dollars while lace panels sold for 410 dollars a yard. Dilys Blum, from Fans, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin (1988), p. 26

  • PublicationThe Fine Art of Textiles

    The design of this fan is attributed to Leon Sacré, who won a prize at an industrial exhibition in Brussels in 1883 for a fan with a similar leaf now in the Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels. Lace fans by Sacré were also displayed in the Belgian Department at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876, where they sold for $200 each. Dilys E. Blum, from The Fine Art of Textiles: The Collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1997), p. 63.