Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Unfolding Pictures: A Stuart Dynasty Fan, c. 1600

Fan from the Stuart Collection
Circa 1600
Leather, Bone
Purchased by George V, 1910
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Images Courtesy of
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
In 1910, as instructed by Queen Mary (of Teck), King George V purchased a set of twenty-four relics reputedly belonging to the Royal Stuart Family of the late Sixteenth and early Seventeenth Centuries. Among these items is this leather-leaf fan with bone sticks and guards which is said to have belonged to King Charles I.

The leather leaf of this fan shows an open-work pattern which was typical of the era, most likely copied from a book. The pattern was transferred to the leather by pricking the leaf with pin holes which traced the design’s outline. The area within the pinholes was then meticulously cut with a knife.

Traces of red and green pigment are still visible on the bone sticks and guards which also show signs of having been adorned with some kind of metal sheeting—copper or possibly tin—which was affixed with copper wire via small holes in the bone.

In 1916, Queen Mary proudly displayed this fan and the other twenty-three items in the newly arranged, “Stuart Room” in Windsor Castle. 

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