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A Court Fan: M.375 & A-2015

Object information

Current Location: In storage


A Court Fan


Maker: Unknown (Possibly)




Folding fan. Depicting a hero in armour before a queen on a throne, the surround with soldiers, companions and attendants. The reverse with a young woman and Cupid.
Hand painted. The ivory sticks are carved and pierced, with painted scenes in the gorge. The guards are decorated with a climbing spray of flowers in gold, and inset with rose diamonds, rubies, emeralds, an amethyst and sapphires. With original shagreen box.


History note: Lennox Boyd Estate. Christie's no. 66

Legal notes

Accepted by H. M. Government in lieu of inheritance tax from the Lennox Boyd Estate

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Allocated (2015-04-27) by H.M. Government


18th century
Production date: circa AD 1760


This fan forms part of the collection of the Hon. Christopher Lennox Boyd, allocated to the Museum by H.M. Government in lieu of inheritance tax in 2015. The collection of over 600 fans ranges in date from the 18th to the 20th centuries and in type from bejewelled and hand-painted court and wedding fans, to printed mass-produced advertising fans, aide-memoire fans, mourning fans and children’s fans.

This fan was made for use at the court. Since it was customary to hold fans closed in the presence of royalty, the guard sticks of court fans took on a particular importance and were ‘dressed to impress’. As fashions changed, court fans were often destroyed to re-use the jewels, and so this example is a rare survivor.

Components of the work

Inset composed of diamonds emeralds rubies sapphire amethyst
Box composed of shagreen
Sticks, Guards composed of ivory
Leaf, Sticks

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.375 & A-2015
Primary reference Number: 204945
Sale number: 66
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Friday 31 July 2015 Updated: Tuesday 26 October 2021 Last processed: Tuesday 26 October 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "A Court Fan" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-05-30 19:08:47

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