Sunday, August 25, 2013

Unfolding Pictures: The Garter Fan, 1805

The Garter Fan
The Royal Collection
This magnificent fan of blue plain weave silk leaf, is inscribed GR Royal, Windsor, Installation HONI. SOIT. QUI. MAL Y. PENSE April 23 1805 ; and features japanned wood guards and sticks. Though the fan was probably purchased by Queen Mary, as most things ultimately were, it was known to have been in the inventory of Frogmore House, Windsor, prior to Mary’s death in 1953, and has no documentation to support how it was returned to the Royal Collection.

The fan which features a painting of the Star of the Order of the Garter, has a Royal history. It may have been painted by one of the daughters of King George III in honor of the Garter Installation in 1805—an especially impressive and solemn occasion.

The size of the fan is typical of models from the early Nineteenth Century when accessories had been reduced in size in order to match the narrower silhouette of ladies’ gowns. Though much lost, the fan, at one time glittered with dozens of sequins, beads and golden threads.

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