Saturday, December 14, 2013

Unfolding Pictures: The Christmas Fan, 1881

The Christmas Fan, 1881
Presented to Alexandra, Princess of Wales
from Queen Victoria.
The Royal Collection
Queen Victoria was very particular when choosing Christmas gifts for those close to her. Instead of letting members of her staff select presents, she made sure to do it herself. This fan was a gift from the queen to Princess Alexandra of Wales, wife of Victoria’s son and the woman who would one day be the queen consort to Edward VII. Queen Victoria commissioned celebrated painter Alice Loch to paint an elegant scene of holly, mistletoe and Christmas roses on a pale green silk leaf. Pleased with the painting, Victoria had the leaf mounted on mother-of-pearl sticks by her favorite fan-makers, Develleroy’s of London. This gorgeous gift was presented to Princess Alexandra on Christmas Eve, 1881.

The pale palette of the painting blends harmoniously with the mother-of-pearl sticks and guards and is accented by a silver clasp with a mother of pearl head. Princess Alexandra was so pleased with the fan that it’s rumored she used it even after the Christmas season had ended. 

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