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The Pillement Fan: M.303-1985

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


The Pillement Fan


Maker: Unknown




Double leaf of chickenskin decorated in pen and black and red ink, and gilt. Gold paper binding on upper edge. Sticks and guards of pierced, carved, engraved, silvered and gilt in two colours mother-of-pearl. Rivet with two gilt metal washers. Front: Decorated overall with groups of chinoiserie figures in black, with a floral border in black at the top. The right, left and lower edges are bordered by scrolls which on the right and left have an outer border of striations which continues across the top. An outer Vitruvian scroll border in gold runs round the top and two sides. Reverse: In the middle, two putti holding a garland are seated on a cloud; scroll border on all sides. Sticks: In the middle a man kneels, offering his heart to a lady, while a putto hovers overhead. On the left and right, an oval cartouche in which a lady stands beside a vase. Guards: On the upper end of each, a gentleman playing a lute with a putto above and a trophy below.


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


Mid 18th Century
Louis XV
Circa 1750 - Circa 1780


A very similar fan is in the collection of the State Library, Bamberg. This fan (signed on the reverse) was decorated around 1775 by Johann Caspar Eder – a chancery clerk and privy counselor of the fürstbischofliche Geheimkanzlei of Bamberg. In 2019, it was exhibited in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München and was published in the corresponding catalogue “Gott, die Welt und Bayern. 100 Kostbarkeiten aus den Regionalen Staatlichen Bibliotheken Bayerns” (2018), S. 200, cat. no. 76.

The design includes a section after L'Air from a set of Elements by Jean Pillement (1719-1808). On the reverse, two putti holding a garland sit on a cloud.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Leaf composed of chicken skin ( double) Width 50.4 cm
Washers composed of metal ( gilt)
Sticks+guards composed of mother-of-pearl
Guards Length 27.6 cm

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.303-1985
Primary reference Number: 117888
Old catalogue number: DR 27/353
Old object number: 346
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 27 January 2021 Last processed: Wednesday 24 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "The Pillement Fan" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-12-05 19:17:15

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