Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Unfolding Pictures: Fan Depicting the Siege of Barcelona, 1740

Fan Depicting the Siege of Barcelona
English, 1740
Vellum leaf on ivory sticks with ivory guards.
The Royal Colllection

The leaf of this magnificent hand fan has been painted with a scene of the 1714 siege of Barcelona by Bourbon forces. This was the final stage of the War of Spanish Succession (1704-1714). The painting here, completed in 1740, is based on an earlier engraving of the siege which was the work of Jacques Rigaud in 1732.

The reverse of the fan depicts a solider in a red coat. He carries a musket. A note accompanying this fan—tucked into its original box, indicates that it once belonged to Queen Louise of Denmark who bequeathed it to her daughter, Queen Alexandra (consort of King Edward VII). The curious thing about this fan is that it appears to have been cropped and rebuilt at some point in its existence. The left side of the fan is slightly shorter than the right and the sticks on the left have clearly been cut and reassembled in the wrong order. Regardless of this damage, it’s still quite attractive. With its brilliantly-colored single leaf mounting (in the English style) on ivory sticks, this is an important bit of history for many reasons. 

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
All Images Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Click on image for larger size.

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