Sunday, October 6, 2013

Unfolding Pictures: A Portrait Fan, 1787

While fans which featured portraits of loved ones were not uncommon, this one is quite exceptional inasmuch as it bears the images of the three eldest sons of King George III and was presumably made for Queen Charlotte. Here, we see portraits of Prince William, Duke of Clarence (later King William IV), George, Prince of Wales (later King George IV), and Prince Frederick, Duke of York.

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

The other factor which makes this hand fan so special is one of the earliest uses of jasper-ware plaques from Wedgwood. Wedgwood had only perfected the process of creating jasper-ware in the 1770’s. The white and blue ornaments quickly fell into the favor of the Royal court and were incorporated into this fan by applying them to the ivory guards. The fan also features marquisites and steel-cut beads which give an added element of sparkle to an already opulent piece.

At some point in the Nineteenth Century, this fan was no longer in the possession of the Royal Family. In 1933, it was purchased at an auction for Queen Mary who had a pleasant habit of returning items to The Royal Collection.

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