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Folding fan: M.151-1985

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 34 (Fan Gallery)


Maker: Unknown




Folding fan, single paper leaf painted in body colour. Sticks of pierced and painted ivory with a zone of chinoiserie, guards of carved ivory, encrusted with reddish wood, ebony coloured wood and bone, partly backed with foil.(22+2). Rivet set with clear pastes. A variety of pastoral scenes are worked on the fan.

Folding fan, single paper leaf painted in body colour. Sticks of pierced and painted ivory with a zone of chinoiserie, guards of carved ivory, encrusted with reddish wood, ebony coloured wood and bone, partly backed with foil.(22+2). Rivet set with clear pastes. Front: In the centre, three scenes painted as three small pictures lying on top of each other; on top, a shepherd and shepherdess standing in a landscape beside water, with an urn on a pedestal, trees and a folly in the background. On the left, a well, some classical columns and a pyramid, all painted in blue. On the right, in brown, a man pouring water into a trough; in the background a cistern with an urn on top. The scenes are on a painted blue and white lace ribbon (Mechlin?), which is backed by a brown and gold trellis pattern with dots in the corners. The centre is flanked by two scenes in blue, wavy scrolls surrounded by flowers; on the left, a boy kneeling in front of a woman, a boy standing next to them; in the background there is a house behind a wall. On the right, a couple playing a game of cards is worked. The top edging is of a green and gold line; left, right and lower edging are of a single gold line. There are gold square ornaments with circles on a brown background at the top corners of the leaf. Back: A shepherdess is sitting on a bank under a tree; in the background, there is a little house with a fence in front of a forest. Sprays of flowers and some wavy ornaments border the scene. Sticks: In the centre, a chinoiserie scene with two seated people on a table and on the left, a classical ruin painted in blue and on the right, painted in brown, probably a squirrel attacking a basket of grapes, which has turned over. The three scenes, which follow the colour concept of the main scenes of the leaf, are bordered by a gold scrolling ornament. There is a Chinese-style rose on the reverse of the back guard; the first and second sticks have sprays of roses, the twenty-first and twenty-second sticks show a bird and an insect. The lower part of the sticks is pierced to show a lacy pattern when the fan is open. Reverse decorated with a little gold flower arrangement in the centre. Guards: Both guards are decorated in a similar way. The shoulder has encrusted striations of wood and ivory; the guard proper is carved, pierced and backed with puce foil on the top and bottom. In the middle, two wooden lines border an encrustation looking like a diagonal chessboard with bone and painted wood.


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


Third quarter of 18th century
Production date: circa AD 1765


The decoration on the leaf combines European scenes of a boy and girl in a landscape and children playing games, trompe-l’oeil lace, and floral sprays with chinoiserie decoration on the sticks. The blue scenes on the leaf and sticks were perhaps inspired by an engraving of ruins in Rome by J. S. Müller after Paolo Pannini (1753). On the reverse, a shepherdess is seated on a rock by a tree in a landscape.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Leaf composed of paper bodycolour
Guards composed of wood foil Length 24.5 cm
Sticks+guards composed of ivory

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.151-1985
Primary reference Number: 117736
Old catalogue number: DR 29/376
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

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