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Brisé fan: MAR.M.236-1912

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Production: Unknown




Sticks of pierced and carved bone, painted, lacquered and decorated with steel sequins and spangles; guards of carved and pierced bone, painted and decorated with sequins. Pale beige textile ribbon. Rivet and washer of tin. Front: the central medallion shows a couple in 18th century dress looking at cupid holding an arrow and a wreath. On the right, a man with a hat is watching them; the background is of arches, columns and trees. There is an inscription below the cartouche, with busts underneath: 'il seront a leur tours courone Par L'amour'. On each side there is a cartouche with a vase at the top flanked by putti shooting arrows with an oval medallion and scrolls below. One stick on either side is missing. The top of each stick is decorated in different ways. From left to right, a goose, a rat, a bearded head flanked by scrolls, a rat, a bird, a salamander, a bird, a man with beard in profile, a dove turning to the right, a dove turning to the left, a fish, a woman in profile, a salamander, a bird, a rat, a bearded head flanked by scrolls and a salamander. Back: Undecorated. Guards: both guards are decorated in a similar way. The fan used to have a quizzing glass set at the rivet but this has gone and a metal piece was inserted; a scrolling S-shape is followed by a spray of leaves, and oval cartouche and a standing Cupid holding a wreath.


History note: Unknown before testator

Legal notes

C.B. Marlay Bequest

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1912) by Marlay, Charles Brinsley


Early 19th Century
Production date: circa AD 1810 : possibly earlier, c. 1790


The inscription, ‘il seront a leur tours courone Par L’amour’, suggests that the fan celebrated an engagement or marriage. Brisé (broken) fans are made of overlapping blades held by a rivet at the base and connected by a ribbon or string near the upper edge. They were very popular in the first quarter of the 18th century and then went out of fashion. In the late 18th century their use revived and small brisé fans were fashionable throughout the early 19th century.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Ribbon composed of woven textile ( beige)
Sticks And Guards composed of sequins ( steel) bone paint
Guards Length 16.3 cm
Leaf Width 27.5 cm
Stick And Guards

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: il seront a leur tours Courone Par L'amour
  • Location: Below the central motif on the front
  • Method of creation: Painted in gold
  • Type: Inscription
  • Text: 6472
  • Location: On back on eleventh stick from the left
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in black ink
  • Type: Inscription

Identification numbers

Accession number: MAR.M.236-1912
Primary reference Number: 118052
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 28 February 2022 Last processed: Monday 28 February 2022

Associated departments & institutions

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

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