Saturday, August 20, 2016

A 1790's fan

Well, I'm back, after a rough year with house moves, a book release (not 18th century related, but you can read about it here) and a big art exhibition, to mention just a few things. And even though I haven't been able to attend more than two costume events during this time (!), I have managed to make myself at least one new fan, based on an original from about 1790...

It started with this lovely little thing that I won on Ebay a few years ago. (as you can see in my earlier posts, I have made two other fans based on this design, but I never tried to make a full reproduction of it before.)

I like that hat :-)
I have no idea of its country of origin, it was bought from Ireland so perhaps it is British. Anyway: it has a double paper leaf with a plain white reverse side and sticks of cattle bone. The leaf is adorned with a stipple engraving of what appears to be a dairymaid resting by a tree, and sewn-on sequins, Just like the other fans in my small collection, it is quite tattered. The leaf has stains, the right guard stick is broken and the once golden sequins have turned into a matte verdigris. I hope it would be possible for an expert to restore it to its former glory someday, but since antique fans shouldn't be used anyway I was determined to make a reproduction of it. Or the leaf at least, since I couldn't make a replica of the sticks.

I used a set of plain bone sticks from the late 19th or early 20th century. The vignette is a printed photo of the engraving, and the patterns are hand painted.

My inkjet printer is quite good really, but
this copy still ended up a lot paler than  the
original engraving... :-/

The result is pretty, albeit not quite as pretty as the original must have been about two hundred years ago. Because of the modern paper (which is always too thick, no matter how thin it may seem) and the bone staves which are also a bit thick, it is MUCH heavier than the original fan. My copy has a few other flaws as well, but I'm still glad I finished it - as a matter of fact I started working on it back in 2014...!