Thursday, July 3, 2014

Unfolding Pictures: The Jacobite Fan, c. 1715

The Victoria & Albert Museum

Click image to enlarge.

Folding fans with paper or fabric leaves originated in Japan and weren’t introduced to Europe until the second half of the Sixteenth Century as European makers adopted the technique of the Japanese while introducing their own style of adornment.

This simple folding fan dates beween 1715 and 17230 and was made in England with plain, un-carved ivory sticks, and a paper leaf painted with gouache (opaque watercolor), with accents of gold paint.

The painted leaf symbolizes Jacobite support for the Stuart Royal Family after George I, Elector of Hanover, succeeded to the British throne in 1714. Depicted on the left is Charles II who is shown hiding in a tree after his defeat by Cromwell at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

He is joined by Queen Anne who is depicted as ascending to heaven after her death in 1714, while beside her a lady mourns the loss of the crown. On the right of the leaf, we see the Stuart arms, with a white rose and two rosebuds below. The rose, a symbol of the House of Stuart, is notable in that it represents the son of James II, James Francis Edward ('James III' or the 'Old Pretender'). The two buds are his sons, Charles Edward and Henry Benedict.

The leaf, overall, is painted in a dark-toned gouache, with a brown and green ground, and is edged with a formal, gilt, scalloped border filled with floral decoration. The reverse of the fan is adorned with a stiffly naturalistic floral spray on a silver ground. The initials “L” and “I” are written in ink on the top left border.

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