Thursday, April 4, 2013

Unfolding Pictures: The Trompe-l’oeil Lace Fan, 1750

Trompe-L'Oeil Lace Fan
French, 1750
Prvisouly owned by Queen Charlotte
Presented to Queen Mary, 1939
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Mary (of Teck) in addition to her usual curiosity about all art and artifacts and her overall passion for collection, had a keen fascination with Queen Charlotte (the consort of King George III) who had a similar penchant for collecting gorgeous objects. Whether or not Queen Mary knew about the existence of this fan in advance of it being given to her is unclear, but what is known is that she was thrilled with the gift of the magnificent piece was it was presented to her by the Honorable Claude Yorke, in 1939. She was even more overjoyed upon learning that the fan with mythological scenes once belong to Queen Charlotte and was one of the objects which had been stripped from the Royal Collection by the auction of Charlotte’s possessions in 1819.

The fan is an exceptional work of art in the style of mid-Seventeenth-Century French fan-makers who took great care in creating their fans. The French preferred that fans were mounted with two leaves, instead of one as was the custom with English fan-makers. Carved tortoiseshell sticks and guards with a silver, garnet-head pin support the leaves which have been painted in a trompe-l’oeil style (literally, “fool the eye”) which is meant to give the impression that the entire piece has been overlaid with a sheet of delicate lace. The lace has been painted onto the fan as if it had been applied and glued and is rendered in such a way that it appears to have been carefully cut around the two painted scenes. The scenes may depict Dido and Aeneas, but their exact subject matter is unknown.

No comments: