Saturday, January 26, 2013

Unfolding Pictures: The Jannin Fan, 1840-1860

The Janin Fan
French, 1840-1860
The Victoria & Albert Museum
As printing technology advanced, printed lithographic fans became the most popular type from about 1840 to 1870, surpassing more expensive hand-painted fans. Though most of the leaves of these fans were printed, they did feature watercolor washes as decoration. These elaborate leaves were supported by ornate sticks of bone, ivory, mother-of-pearl, lacquered wood or papier maché.

French manufacturers produced the majority of these fans, and most of them were exported in great numbers to other European countries. Very often, these printed fans depicted romantic scenes set in the Eighteenth Century, as you can see in this fan which boasts a lithograph by H. Jannin. This bucolic image has been mounted on lacquered sticks. Scenes of this type imitate the Rococo style and pastoral subject-matter of many earlier Eighteenth-Century fans. These were part of the great Rococo Revival which dominated fashions for two decades.

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