The Fan Museum

The Fan Museum The Fan Museum is the first and only museum in the UK devoted in its entirety to all aspects of the ancient art and craft of the fan. *The Fan Museum is closed from Monday 16th March until further notice. Please visit our website for more information.
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The museum owes its existence to the vision of Hélène Alexander and her late husband, A.V (Dicky) Alexander. When the museum opened its doors to the public back in 1991, the Alexander’s had already been working on the project for some five years. Hélène, over a prolonged period, had amassed an internationally significant collection of fans, fan leaves and associated literature (now numbering over 4000 objects) and the founding of The Fan Museum reflected her desire to promote, conserve, and display fans to a wide audience. In the intermittent years, the museum has staged over sixty temporary exhibitions covering a diverse range of themes: from “Children in Fans” through to “Imperial Fans from The Hermitage”, visitors to the Greenwich based museum have been treated to exhibitions of great depth and artistic merit.

The Fan Museum is pleased to share an article written by the Museum's Founder/Director, Hélène Alexander MBE, herself a ...
22/05/2020

The Fan Museum is pleased to share an article written by the Museum's Founder/Director, Hélène Alexander MBE, herself a leading authority on fans.

The richly illustrated article focuses on fans from the Museum's collection decorated with subjects pertaining to the legend of Cleopatra VII, the last of the Egypt's Ptolemaic rulers.

To download a copy of the article, click through to our website:
https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/news/read-a-fascinating-article-by-helene-alexander

Please note that all Friends of The Fan Museum will shortly receive a printed copy of the article, along with a colouring sheet. Even more reasons to consider joining up and helping to support the work of the Museum during these challenging times. Further information about the Friends' scheme can be found here: https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/support

Head over to our website and download a free colouring sheet of a mask-fan from our collection. Have fun with it and sha...
14/05/2020

Head over to our website and download a free colouring sheet of a mask-fan from our collection. Have fun with it and share your efforts here and on Twitter, remembering to tag us using the #colourfan hashtag: https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/news/colour-a-fan

Today marks The Fan Museum's 29th birthday. On such an occasion we would usually find ourselves raising a glass of bubbl...
05/05/2020

Today marks The Fan Museum's 29th birthday. On such an occasion we would usually find ourselves raising a glass of bubbly and enjoying cake with our colleagues, wonderful volunteers and visitors. This year we can only send out to all our supporters gratitude and good wishes and hope you'll return to celebrate our 30th anniversary in 2021.

On this day, 05 May 1991 The Fan Museum's inaugural exhibition, 'Children in Fans' opened and the Museum's Founders, Helene Alexander and her late husband 'Dicky' A.V Alexander were on hand to welcome visitor number 1, the moment captured here in the attached photo.

Happy Birthday to The Fan Museum and congratulations to Mrs Alexander for her continued dedication!

Our current closure may continue for some time yet but won't stop us from making connections and sharing our passion for...
04/05/2020

Our current closure may continue for some time yet but won't stop us from making connections and sharing our passion for fans with our followers.

The Fan Museum invites you to enjoy a limited preview of its popular Podcatcher audio tour from the comfort of your own home:
https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/permanent-display

By no means designed to replicate the experience of visiting the Museum's elegant Georgian-period galleries in person, we hope the preview may offer some new insights into the collection, the subject of fans and remind everyone to revisit the Museum when it eventually becomes safe to do so.

STOP PRESS! The Fan Museum's 'Street Fans' project relaunched via Google Arts & Culture platform...In 2017 The Fan Museu...
30/04/2020
Street Fans - The Fan Museum - Google Arts & Culture

STOP PRESS!
The Fan Museum's 'Street Fans' project relaunched via Google Arts & Culture platform...

In 2017 The Fan Museum, with support from Codex Urbanus, launched a pioneering initiative to put the craft of fan making back on the map in the UK. ‘Street Fans’ brought together 29 street artists and 1 contemporary fan maker for an innovative, exhibition-based project enriched with outreach activities designed to engage diverse audiences.

Fan maker Sylvain Le Guen refashioned more than 60 original fan designs by the participating artists, creating a unique collection of ‘street fans’ subsequently displayed in a landmark exhibition which drew record audiences to the Greenwich-based Museum.

Three years on since the project completed, ‘Street Fans’ is now reimagined as a virtual exhibition on the Google Arts and Culture platform. Combining informative texts, artists’ commentaries and dynamic photography, the online presentation evokes the rebellious, exploratory aspects of the Museum's Street Fans project.

To rediscover Street Fans, follow the link:
https://g.co/arts/3LcH3Rk974q9Mc3n8

In 2017 The Fan Museum launched a pioneering project to put fan making back on the map. Europe's foremost contemporary fan maker worked collaboratively wit...

Fantasy Unfurled! The Fan Museum is pleased to announce the acquisition of an extraordinary folding fan decorated by Gus...
20/04/2020

Fantasy Unfurled!

The Fan Museum is pleased to announce the acquisition of an extraordinary folding fan decorated by Gustave Doré (1832-1883). Formerly in the private collection of Paris-based antique dealer Gérard Lévy (1934-2016), the fan was widely admired by visitors attending the Museum’s 2019 summer exhibition, 'The Man with the Carnation'.

Dated circa 1870, the fan’s mother of pearl sticks support a canepin (goat skin) leaf decorated with an original artwork signed by the artist. The subject, loosely based around an ‘infernal vision’ of Love vanquishing Evil, features warring putti, fantastical beasts and other grotesque entities reminiscent of illustrations made by the artist to accompany a deluxe edition, first published in 1861, of Dante’s epic poem, the 'Divine Comedy'.

Doré’s imaginary troops, deftly rendered in ink, watercolour and gouache, form battle-ready brigades flanking the principle figures of Satan (astride a dragon, thrusting his pitchfork) and Love (charging toward the enemy upon Pegasus). The overall effect is one of adrenaline-fuelled chaos and may allude to the sufferings endured by France in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1871). Doré, a fervent patriot, was deeply affected by the conflict and made numerous works in response to it.

Doré is known to have produced several other fan paintings during his lifetime: in 1865 he gifted Olympe Pélissier (1799-1878), second wife of the famous composer, Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) a fan decorated with an elaborate musical score of the duet ‘Ah! Mathilde, idole de mon âme!’ from Rossini’s 1829 opera, William Tell. An unmounted fan painting, illustrating an episode from Francois Rabelais’ (1493-1553) 'Gargantua and Pantagruel' was exhibited at the 2014 Doré retrospective held at the Museé d’Orsay and National Gallery of Canada.

Strasbourg-born Gustave Doré is regarded as an influential figure within the field of nineteenth century art. His creative practice spanned painting, sculpture, caricature, illustration and engraving. Doré was from an early age highly prolific and applied his talents to a wide range of artistic genres, from grandiose history paintings to searing satires. He is perhaps best remembered as the period’s foremost illustrator who took up the challenge of illustrating the works of a number of seminal literary figures including Cervantes, Milton, Shakespeare, Hugo and Balzac. Today his works can be found in Museums and Galleries throughout the world.

Yesterday, 06 April, marked both the birth* and death of master painter, Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, known simply as Rap...
07/04/2020

Yesterday, 06 April, marked both the birth* and death of master painter, Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, known simply as Raphael (1483-1520). Considered by many as the 'supreme painter' of the High Renaissance, he died 500 years ago at the relatively young age of 37. From The Fan Museum's collections enjoy this mid-19th century fan, the leaf decorated with an adaptation of Raphael's 'The Cardinal and Theological Virtues', a lunette painting forming part of the Vatican Palace series of frescos (see image 2).

The three female figures represent the cardinal virtues of Fortitude, Prudence and Temperance. Three of the five putti represent the theological virtues of Charity, Hope and Faith. The fan is mounted on fine quality ivory sticks fittingly carved with neo-renaissance ornaments, the front guard bearing a coronet. The fan comes in a silk upholstered box carrying the initials 'C.R' (possibly that of Charlotte de Rothschild) and stamped on the inside lid, Alexandre. Note how the pleating of the leaf has caused the horizontal elements of the design to curve upward, an effect most noticeable on the stepped flooring.

* the artist's birth is sometimes also cited as 28 March.

Congratulations to our assistant curator, Scott Schiavone whose excellent article, 'Luxury and Excess: The Fan as the Ul...
03/04/2020
The Journal of Dress History - The Association of Dress Historians

Congratulations to our assistant curator, Scott Schiavone whose excellent article, 'Luxury and Excess: The Fan as the Ultimate Fashion Accessory, 1850–1900' is published in the latest edition of Journal of Dress History. Head over to the Association of Dress Historians website to read: https://dresshistorians.org/journal

The Journal of Dress History Select an issue to view and/or download as a pdf document. Forward The appearance of The Journal of Dress History is very welcome in the context of a subject which has expanded enormously over the past two decades. CHODA (The Courtauld History of Dress Association) was f...

16/03/2020

The Fan Museum will be closed to the public from Monday March 16 2020 until further notice.

Following careful consideration of the current course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to implement a planned closure of The Fan Museum. We have made this decision in the interests of the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers, partners and visitors. We are not aware of any specific health risk to staff or visitors.

For all enquiries please email [email protected]

Love is in the air (and on fans)! Happy Valentines.
14/02/2020

Love is in the air (and on fans)! Happy Valentines.

The Fan Museum is pleased to announce the acquisition of an exceptional late-sixteenth century ‘flag fan’, a precious su...
03/02/2020

The Fan Museum is pleased to announce the acquisition of an exceptional late-sixteenth century ‘flag fan’, a precious survival from a time when hand held fans were exotic ornaments as opposed to commonplace accessories.

The article was probably manufactured in Venice, Italy where flag fans enjoyed popular status throughout the sixteenth century. Demonstrating fine craftsmanship, both sides of the fan’s rectangular screen are richly painted with mythological subjects – one side with Cupid trapping birds, the other with a satyr (half-bestial spirit) unveiling the Goddess Venus; the subject, a seductive allegory of earthly love, was reproduced widely by artists throughout the sixteenth century, most famously by Correggio (1489-1534), whose erotic masterpiece resides in the Musée de Louvre, Paris.

The fan goes on public display from 01 February 2020, forming part of The Fan Museum’s newly installed ground floor galleries.

Photos: Rhian Cox

Countdown to reopening of The Fan Museum has begun! Join us from 01 February when we launch our first exhibition of 2020...
30/01/2020

Countdown to reopening of The Fan Museum has begun! Join us from 01 February when we launch our first exhibition of 2020, 'Heroic Figures'. Curated by the Museum's Founder/Director, visitors can expect a dazzling array of fans decorated with legendary figures from Greek mythology to Hollywood icons.

Heroes: Saviours, Traitors and SupermenAn illustrated lecture by Lucy Hughes-Hallett14.00hrs, 20 February 2020The Fan Mu...
07/01/2020
Heroes: Saviours, Traitors and Supermen | The Fan Museum

Heroes: Saviours, Traitors and Supermen
An illustrated lecture by Lucy Hughes-Hallett
14.00hrs, 20 February 2020

The Fan Museum is pleased to welcome to the intimate setting of the Orangery, historian, author and The Arts Society lecturer, Lucy Hughes-Hallett, who’ll give a fascinating talk on a subject closely related to the Museum’s first exhibition of 2020, 'Heroic Figures'.

Exploring in rich detail the concept of the hero, the lecture begins before the walls of Troy, with Achilles, and ends in the 19th century with Garibaldi, one of the first heroes of the age of mass-media. Touching on half a dozen other figures who have been the object of hero-worship, Hughes-Hallett asks how these figures – the scoundrels and scallywags as well as the saintly ones – managed to persuade their contemporaries that they were somehow superhuman.

Please visit the Museum's website to book tickets: https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/events/heroes-saviours-traitors-and-supermen

The Fan Museum is pleased to welcome to the intimate setting of the Orangery, cultural Historian, author and The Arts Society lecturer, Lucy Hughes-Hallett, who’ll give a fascinating talk on a subject closely related to the Museum’s first exhibition of 2020, Heroic Figures.

Wishing all our Facebook followers a fun (and fan) filled 2020! Today is your final chance to visit the Museum and enjoy...
31/12/2019

Wishing all our Facebook followers a fun (and fan) filled 2020! Today is your final chance to visit the Museum and enjoy afternoon tea before we close throughout January, reopening on 01 February 2020 with a new exhibition, 'Heroic Figures'.

Visit our website to find out more: https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/exhibitions

On Wednesday 04 December, The Fan Museum welcomed HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, its Patron since 2008. On this occasion H...
06/12/2019

On Wednesday 04 December, The Fan Museum welcomed HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, its Patron since 2008. On this occasion HRH met with key staff and volunteers before proceeding to view the Museum’s current display of ‘treasures’, stopping to marvel at two particularly lavish fans bearing hallmarks of Russian Imperial jewellers, Fabergé and F. Kochli.

Within the setting of the Museum’s storage facility Mrs Alexander (founder) and Jacob Moss (curator) showed HRH a recently acquired sixteenth century flag fan, explaining the article’s interesting provenance and the Classical scenes which decorate its double sided ‘screen’.

HRH then moved into the Orangery to participate in a workshop led by fan making tutor Caroline Allington. Joining a group of people from the Royal Voluntary Service, of which she is also Patron, HRH put the finishing touches to a specially designed tartan cockade fan.

Photos: Philip Hartley/ Royal Voluntary Service

The Fan Museum's cover photo
06/11/2019

The Fan Museum's cover photo

Wishing all our followers a suitably spooky Halloween!
31/10/2019

Wishing all our followers a suitably spooky Halloween!

Great interview with our curator, Jacob Moss.
10/10/2019
MY LIFE IN ART: ARTS SOCIETY LECTURER JACOB MOSS | The Arts Society

Great interview with our curator, Jacob Moss.

Jacob Moss is curator at The Fan Museum, London, where he has worked for almost a decade following the completion of a master’s degree in fashion curation at London College of Fashion. He became an Arts Society Lecturer earlier this year. 

Martin Randall Travel
08/10/2019

Martin Randall Travel

The latest in our highly successful series of symposia focuses on the era of George III, the Regency and George IV. In a programme that aims to capture the essence of the age, leading scholars will give a series talks encompassing history, art, architecture and social mores.

One of the talks is given by fashion curator Jacob Moss, Curator of The Fan Museum in Greenwich, as he explores the impact of Classical culture – art, architecture, mythology etc. – on fan design.

The discussions promise to add colour, breadth and detail to our understanding of Hanoverian Britain.

'The Later Georgians: Britain 1760–1830 - A weekend symposium in Taunton' (13–15 March 2020): www.martinrandall.com/later-georgians

We're delighted to announce the opening of our newly installed Autumn/Winter 2019 displays. Showcasing the Museum's extr...
02/10/2019

We're delighted to announce the opening of our newly installed Autumn/Winter 2019 displays. Showcasing the Museum's extraordinary collections, we've selected a broad range of fans representative of different periods and cultures. Visit now and enjoy this dazzling display of artistry and craftsmanship: https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/exhibitions

This morning, The Fan Museum’s Assistant Curator Scott William Schiavone was on-site at Mudec, Museo della Culture, in M...
23/09/2019

This morning, The Fan Museum’s Assistant Curator Scott William Schiavone was on-site at Mudec, Museo della Culture, in Milan, installing 2 objects from the museum’s vast collection.
“Landscape in Martinique”, a fan shaped painting by Paul Gauguin ca.1887 and a Japanese made for export fan ca.1890 will be on display in Mudec’s upcoming exhibition “IMPRESSIONS OF EAST: Art and collecting between Europe and Japan”.
The exhibition opens from 01st October 2019 to 02nd February 2020.
#exhibition #thefanmuseum #impressionism #handfan

The Association of Dress Historians
15/09/2019
The Association of Dress Historians

The Association of Dress Historians

ADH MEMBERS' EVENT: Special curators’ tour at The Fan Museum, London, 12:30pm–3:30pm, Thursday, 24 October 2019, £12 per person. Tickets include entry to the museum, the guided curators’ tour of the museum with access into the museum’s storage facility, and Cream Tea in The Orangery. Tickets to this event are limited and must be purchased online, here:

Among the numerous projects the Museum is currently engaged in, photographing a selection of our finest treasures is res...
20/08/2019

Among the numerous projects the Museum is currently engaged in, photographing a selection of our finest treasures is resulting in the production of some wonderful imagery, much of which captures in rich detail the intricate workmanship of the artists and craftspeople responsible for producing these complex articles.

This particular mid-eighteenth century example combines beautifully worked mother of pearl sticks and guards and a double paper leaf painted on the obverse with a trompe l’œil ribbon of Valenciennes (?) lace and interlinking scenes of peasants carousing within a tavern setting.

Probably derived from a genre painting by David Teniers the Younger (Flemish, 1610–1690), at first glance the scene could be interpreted as one of innocent merriment but instead functions as a moralistic warning against excessive alcohol consumption! The composition includes several visual devices also present in works by the abovementioned artist: the owl, blind by day, represents the foolish behaviour of the inebriated figures. Tacked to the tavern wall, a sheet carries a Man’s profile – a form of autograph favoured by Teniers and other 17th Century genre painters. Could this ‘portrait’ record a likeness of the fan painter himself? A tantalizing thought.....

Address

12 Crooms Hill
London
SE10 8ER

General information

Afternoon Teas served in our delightful Orangery on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 12:30 - 16:00

Opening Hours

Tuesday 11:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 11:00 - 17:00
Thursday 11:00 - 17:00
Friday 11:00 - 17:00
Saturday 11:00 - 17:00
Sunday 12:00 - 17:00

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Comments

Please could you give me some information on this fan. It is 20” when opened. Many thanks
This beautiful lady helped me a lot, when I came to the museum she is, kind, and cute
thanx
This beautiful lady helped me a lot, when I was brought to the museum she is, kind, and cute
Can you point me to a vendor who sells fan rivets? I have an inexpensive fan I purchased on ebay and I need to replace the broken rivet. Thank you! (I am in the US)
Greetings . I present to you my page dedicated to NARBO MARTIVS ( Roman Narbonne , south of the France ) , NARBONENSIS capital's , second Roman port after OSTIA in North-Western Europe and city among the top 20 according with the very famous Roman author AVSONIVS ( Ausone ) in ORDO VRBIVM NOBILIVM ( order of great noble cities ) : Narbo Martivs , première fille de Rome .
Saw these fans for sale today. Any idea of when and where they were made?
I love the fan museum
I am a Brazilian art historian now preparing the edition of a book on 19th century fans made in China to celebrate Portuguese and Brazilian historical events. I would appreciate to include in my book the "Apotheosis of John VI", HA 173 of your collection, but I have neither an image nor the technical data of it. Could you be so kind as to send me both? Many years ago Mrs. Helene Alexander informed me in a letter the existence of this, and another fan possibly related to Portugal, HA 1119 - in her own words "na importante marriage". I am also curious about this fan. Very cordially yours, José Roberto Teixeira Leite, São Paulo, Brazil.
Wow love your feed, thanks for sharing!
Thank you for a lovely morning and an excellent course, learning techniques and fan-making history with Fan Master Sylvain Le Guen. It was a very special event; Mum and I loved being a part of it and are very proud of our resulting fans!
Kate Dengra