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Folding fan: M.135-1985

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown




Folding fan, Chicken skin leaf backed with paper, painted in bodycolour and gilt. Sticks and guards of pierced, carved, painted, varnished and gilt ivory (24+ 2). Rivet set with green pastes. Chinoiserie design.

Folding Fan
Chicken skin leaf backed with paper, painted in bodycolour and gilt. Sticks and guards of pierced, carved, painted, varnished and gilt ivory (24+ 2). Rivet set with green pastes.
Leaf: Reserved in a brown ground seme with gold dots and gold and pink circles (similar to oil de perdrix), there are three reserves resembling unrolled scroll paintings, linked by pink ribbon striped in dark green and two shades of purple, and with sprays of flowers and leaves painted en grisaille. Left: a man playing bells, painted en grisaille with a pale yellow background. Centre: under an awning, a Chinese boy kneels before a seated European lady holding a parrot, painted en grisaille. Right: a Chinese fisherman pulling his boat in to the shore, watched by a seated man smoking a pipe, painted en grisaille with a pale yellow background.
Reverse: Painted in colours overall with a Chinese fisherman presenting a fish to a seated European lady in a lakeside landscape with trees, rocks, a pavilion and fence.
Sticks: In the centre, a rococo cartouche painted with a landscape, flanked by a rococo and an oval cartouche painted with flowers and butterflies on a brown ground, linked by striped ribbon and sprays of polychrome flowers, which extend on either side and above which is a butterfly on the left and an exotic bird on the right; backround of gilt wavy diagonal lines. The design is outlined in red on the back.
Guards: flowers and leaves within scrolled borders


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.

Acquisition and important dates

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


18th Century, Mid
Production date: circa AD 1760 : A ribbon motif was first woven into textiles c.1760. Fan painters took up this novel idea with enthusiasm.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Leaf composed of bodycolour chicken skin gilt
Sticks+guards composed of ivory
Guards Length 29.9 cm

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.135-1985
Primary reference Number: 117720
Old catalogue number: DR 24/314
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 2 June 2020 Last processed: Thursday 3 August 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Folding fan" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-09-30 15:27:20

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