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A Game of Billiards: M.1-1985

Object information

Current Location: In storage


A Game of Billiards


Maker: Unknown




Folding fan with double paper leaf, painted in bodycolour and gilt. Sticks of pierced and carved ivory; guards of carved ivory, the head strengthened with mother-of-pearl (17+2). Fan depicts a game of billiards.

Folding fan with double paper leaf, painted in bodycolour and gilt. Sticks of pierced and carved ivory; guards of carved ivory, the head strengthened with mother-of-pearl (17+2). Rivet set with clear paste. Front: Ladies and gentlemen in an outdoor setting with an ornamental building in the background. On the left, a lady curtseys to a gentleman who holds her right hand; in the middle, a lady holding a basket of flowers observes a gentleman presenting a posy to a lady seated beside a billiard table; on the right, a lady and gentleman are playing billiards. The ladies are wearing ornate mantuas. The upper edge has a border of pink, maroon and turquoise compartments painted in colours and gold with chinoiserie landscapes with flowers, oriental flowers and a fence, shells, and sprays of foliage. On the left side and lower edge there are narrow maroon borders with gilt ornament. Back: in the middle, a lady and gentleman are seated in a landscape. She has a book of music on her knee, and he holds a cane in his left hand. The upper edge has a border of compartments decorated with gold ornament on red, green, maroon grounds. Sticks: in the middle, a lady and gentleman are seated within a shaped cartouche with a diapered ground, framed by scrolls, surmounted by a bowl of fruit, and flanked by scrolling floral sprays. The reverse is undecorated. Guards: carved in low relief on a hatched ground, a bust, a sunflower, a peacock perching on a flower, a gentleman playing a viol and a shell. The reverse is undecorated.


History note: Colonel Leonard C. Messel (1872-1953); his daughter Anne, Countess of Rosse (1902-1992)

Legal notes

Purchased with a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and a gift from the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Measurements and weight

Width: 45.0 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Venice ⪼ The Veneto ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1985-01-28) by Countess of Rosse, Anne


18th Century, Mid
Production date: circa AD 1740 : This fan was originally dated to 1720-30 but the mantuas worn by the ladies would suggest the fan to be of slightly later date. The sticks and guards may be earlier.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Rivet composed of paste ( clear)
Leaf composed of paper ( double) bodycolour ( polychrome) gold
Guards composed of mother-of-pearl Length 29.6 cm
Sticks And Guards composed of ivory

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.1-1985
Primary reference Number: 117587
Old collection number: DR 27/356
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 February 2020 Last processed: Thursday 3 August 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "A Game of Billiards" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-09-22 11:40:00

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{{cite web|url= |title=A Game of Billiards |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-09-22 11:40:00|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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