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Folding fan: M.138-1985

Object information


Unknown (Maker)


Double leaf of paper with four sides, painted in water-colours and gilt. Gold binding on upper edge. Sticks and guards of red lacquer decorated in gold (15+2), the latter strengthened at the head with ivory and tortoiseshell. Rivet with mother-of-pearl washers. Front l. A chinoiserie scene comprising two Chinamen seated at a table, one holding a cup and a bottle, the other a fan,
attended by a servant bringing cups and saucers on a tray. On each side of the group there is a flowering tree and a smaller gold tree between the servant and the seated man with a fan. Back l. A parasol, a fan and a plant in a long-necked vases. Front 2. Three European vignettes: on the left a lady, perhaps a shepherdess, seated between to bushes; in the centre, a boy picks a gentleman's pocket while he caresses a lady seated beside a tree; on the right, a youth, perhaps a shepherd between bushes. Border of gold C-scrolls and foliage on left, top and right sides. Back 2. As Back 1. Sticks and Guards: Painted in gold with rocks, a pavilion and trees in oriental style.


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

Place(s) associated

  • Palermo ⪼ Sicily ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

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


Late 18th century
Circa 1770 CE - Circa 1790 1790 CE


Four scenes fans open in two directions, and have two obverses and two reverses. The leading guard of this fan is on the left instead of the right, an indication that the fan is showing its second front. The other obverse is decorated with a Chinoiserie scene, and both reverses have the same motifs: a parasol, a fan, and a vase.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Leaf: composed of paper gilt gouache Guards: composed of tortoise shell ivory Length 29.5 cm
Lacquer: composed of red Sticks+guards:

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.138-1985
Primary reference Number: 117723
Old catalogue number: DR 11/164
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 12 January 2021 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

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 (2020) "Folding fan" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-11-29 15:35:18

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url=|title=Folding fan|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-11-29 15:35:18|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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