Saturday, March 1, 2014

Unfolding Pictures: A Fan Depicting King George III and His Family Visiting the Royal Academy, 1789

Fan Depicting King George III and his Family
Visiting The Royal Academy
English, 1789
The Royal Collection
In 1768, King George III established the Royal Academy, and, in 1780 provided the Academy with a permanent home in Somerset House. Before his first major illness in 1788, King George III and his family visited the Royal Academy in their new home. The famous visit was recorded in drawings and paintings. A favorite painting of event was one created by J.H. Ramberg in 1788. An engraving of this painting by P. Martini became a popularly purchased print.

In 1780, the Martini engraving was incorporated into the leaf of this fan. The image had to be somewhat altered in printing so that it would fit neatly on the paper fan leaf. Supported by japanned bamboo sticks and guards, the finished fan became a model for several reproductions—some of which survive in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The original fan ended up in the collection of Queen Mary who had, by the time of her death, amassed a tremendous collection of antique fans—most of which had significance to the Royal Family. 

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

Click image to enlarge.

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