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Expulsion of Heliodorus Fan: M.297-1985

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 34 (Fan Gallery)


Expulsion of Heliodorus Fan


Maker: Unknown
Production: Solimena, Francesco (After)




Single leaf of vellum, painted in bodycolour and gilt. Mother-pearl sticks, pierced, carved, engraved, silvered and gilt; guards carved in low relief, silvered and gilt (21+2). Gilt brass? (not steel) rivet. Front: Painted overall with the 'Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple' after the fresco by Francesco Solimena (1657-1747) in the Gesu Nuovo, Naples, signed 1725; bordered by flowers, foliage, birds and scrolls. Reverse: In the middle, a floral spray in shades of pink, blue, purple and green. Borders of scrolls and flowers in similar colours. Sticks: The meeting beween Alexander and the wife of Darius, surrounded by scrolls and foliage, and flanked by a military trophy and a still life of a vase, a bird perching on a basket, backed by iridescent shell. The scrolls are overlaid by gold foil and above there is a narrow border of bound laurel in silver and gold foil. Below the scene, there is a row of silver and gold flowerheads and leaves. Guards: Below the shoulder there are scrolls and two doves flying over a basket; above the shoulder, two vases, scrolls, flowers, a classical figure holding a spear and a seated putto. Sticks and guards are of a later date.


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, second quarter#
Production date: circa AD 1730 : Date for the sticks is c.1760. The date of the leaf hinges on the date of an engraving of the scene, unless it was done from drawings. The fresco in Gesu Nuovo is 1725. This fan leaf may also have been painted for Isabella Farnese (1692-1766), Queen Consort of Spain.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Rivet composed of brass (alloy) ( gilt)
Leaf composed of vellum (skin) gouache
Sticks+guards composed of mother-of-pearl
Guards Length 30.8 cm

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.297-1985
Primary reference Number: 117882
Old object number: 340
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 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 (2024) "Expulsion of Heliodorus Fan" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-30 15:24:17

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{{cite web|url= |title=Expulsion of Heliodorus Fan |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-05-30 15:24:17|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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