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The Costumer's Manifesto: 18th Century Hand Fans

18th Century Fans

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The fan was the most essential accessory in a fashionable woman’s wardrobe. With it, she could gesture encoded messages using one of the numerous "fan languages" published by enterprising print shops, or simply use it as a natural adjunct to her hand gestures.

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Above photos taken at the Royal Art and History Museum, Brussels, Belgium.

Fan Series 18th Century

redirect.asp?aid=280808&c=a&search=Fan+Series@160x120.jpg Fan Series

redirect.asp?aid=280808&item=115104@160x120.jpg Buy This Art Print At AllPosters.com

The most common fan in the 18th Century was the folding variety based on Chinese models. Unlike their Asian counterparts, however, European fans had elaborately carved and decorated sticks, made of ivory, mother-of-pearl, horn, wood, and tortoise shell. Fan leaves were made of vellum and paper and were both hand painted and printed. Lace fans were extremely unusual and fabric fans were not used at all until the 19th Century.

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Above photos taken at the Royal Art and History Museum, Brussels, Belgium.

18thcentAccessoriesTheballofthenations18thcent.jpg Print of a fan design "The Ball of the Nations" mid 18th Century

HistoryKohler402.jpg Fan with painted Miniatures, 1st half of the 18th Century (Kohler)

HistoryKohler439.jpg Fan of the 1st half of the 18th Century (Kohler)

HistoryKohler438.jpg Fan with painted miniature, middle of the 18th Century (Kohler)

DesignmotifsSpeltzMirabeaufan.jpg18th Century fan from Speltz

AccessoriesFansCapetfamily.jpgFan showing the French Royal Familyc.1780

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Spanish Fan of the1st half of the 18th Century

(V&A Costume Collection)

Detail of a French Fashion plate of1778..

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HistoryCamerongalleryCameron18.jpgFan c.1775in the

Cameron Gallery

18thcentBoehn18thcentfrenchfan.jpg French 18th century fan from Max von Boehn's Das Beiwerk der Mode, 1928

HistoryKohler475.jpg Fan with Neo Classical motifs, end of the 18th Century. (Kohler)


More 18th Century Fan Photos and notes by Argentum - The Leopard's Head Antique Silver

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18th Century Fan Links

@160x120.jpg Fan Association of North America

NOT 18th Century style, but nifty anyway:

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This Page is part of The Costumer's Manifesto, originally founded by Tara Maginnis, Ph.D. from 1996-2014, now flying free as a wiki for all to edit and contribute. Site maintained, hosted, and wikified by Andrew Kahn. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details. You may print out any of these pages for non-profit educational use such as school papers, teacher handouts, or wall displays. You may link to any page in this site.