Monday, June 2, 2014

Unfolding Pictures: The Houghton Boating Fan, 1890-1900

Click image to enlarge.
Mother-of-Pearl Guards and Sticks
Francis Houghton
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Francis Houghton was known throughout late Nineteenth Century Britain as a prolific and highly-talented fan painter, yet know very little about the details of his life except that a number of his fans survive.

The dramatic scene the leaf of this handsome fan is typical of his work. Depicted is a man leaning over the side of the boat. He is presumably saving a girl, who is stranded out at sea in a rowing boat.

The fan is unusually large compared to others by Houghton and, oddly, he has painted the sea over the mother-of-pearl sticks to give the impression of the water stretching out to infinity. He made the fan between 1890 and 1900.  The mother-of-pearl guard is in excellent condition.

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