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Folding fan: M.321-1985

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown
Artist: da Cortona, Pietro (After)




Folding fan, single skin leaf, painted in bodycolour and watercolours. Sticks and guards of lacquered ivory (22+2) rivet of brass and washer of mother-of-pearl. Front: the front leaf shows 'The Rape of Sabines', after Pietro da Cartona (1596-1666), but the design is reversed. In the centre, in front of an obelisk, a roman is abducting a Sabine and another Roman is hitting a man, who is trying to protect a Sabine; on the left, in front of a temple, five Sabines are being abducted by Romans, one of them on horseback; on the right a man with a crown between two columns stands on a podium. Below this there are roman soldiers, an abduction and a child; a statue stands on a podium; bushes and trees are placed in the background and there is some action between the central and right scene. The top lower and left borders are black with scrolling gold ornaments. Back: flowers, fruit and birds on a black background, in the centre two naked figures are holding a garland of flowers. Sticks: painted in different colours of lacquer showing Chinoiseries in two fan leaf-shaped rows with nine cartouches each. Four miniatures in the upper row. Reverse; gold pattern. Guards: both guards are painted in a similar way showing Chinoiseries in cartouches and ovals


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, Early#
Production date: circa AD 1700


The scene is "The Rape of the Sabines", after Pietro da Cortona (1596-1666). The original, painted between 1626 and 1631, is now in the Pinacoteca Capitolina, rome. Much of the design is reversed, showing it was taken from an engraving, probably by Pietro Aquila (Le Blanc 83, cf no. 17 in BM 1962, 246).

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Leaf composed of watercolour bodycolour skin
Washer composed of mother-of-pearl
Sticks+guards composed of ivory
Rivet composed of brass (alloy)
Guards Length 27.4 cm

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.321-1985
Primary reference Number: 117906
Old catalogue number: DR 2/19
Old object number: 364
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 22 November 2021 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 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 (2024) "Folding fan" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-24 02:10:40

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{{cite web|url= |title=Folding fan |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-24 02:10:40|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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