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. 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 leave

Please visit our website for more information. 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 leave

Operating as usual

Talking Fans > The Fan Museum Digital Talks: Autumn/Winter 2021Following the success of our recent ‘The Fan Museum at 30...
20/08/2021

Talking Fans > The Fan Museum Digital Talks: Autumn/Winter 2021

Following the success of our recent ‘The Fan Museum at 30’ anniversary series of online talks, we are pleased to announce the launch of ‘Talking Fans’, a series of four presentations for the 2021 Autumn/Winter season. Delivered by the Museum’s expert curatorial staff, each of the four talks will cover a different aspect of the multi-layered history, culture, and artistry of the fan.

Please visit our website for booking information and schedule of talks: www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/news/talking-fans-autumn-winter-2021

Talking Fans > The Fan Museum Digital Talks: Autumn/Winter 2021

Following the success of our recent ‘The Fan Museum at 30’ anniversary series of online talks, we are pleased to announce the launch of ‘Talking Fans’, a series of four presentations for the 2021 Autumn/Winter season. Delivered by the Museum’s expert curatorial staff, each of the four talks will cover a different aspect of the multi-layered history, culture, and artistry of the fan.

Please visit our website for booking information and schedule of talks: www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/news/talking-fans-autumn-winter-2021

'The Fan Museum at 30' series of free-to-attend online talks continues at 19.00hrs on Wednesday 07 July when the Museum'...
30/06/2021

'The Fan Museum at 30' series of free-to-attend online talks continues at 19.00hrs on Wednesday 07 July when the Museum's curator, Jacob Moss revisits the 2014 exhibition, 'Seduced! Fans & the Art of Advertising'. Booking info here:
https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/events/the-fan-museum-at-30

'The Fan Museum at 30' series of free-to-attend online talks continues at 19.00hrs on Wednesday 02 June when Museum cons...
28/05/2021

'The Fan Museum at 30' series of free-to-attend online talks continues at 19.00hrs on Wednesday 02 June when Museum consultant Mary Kitson reflects upon the 2018 exhibition 'The Romantic Age'. Please visit our website to find out more & to book your place: https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/news/the-fan-museum-at-30-digital-lecture-series

'The Fan Museum at 30' series of free-to-attend online talks continues at 19.00hrs on Wednesday 02 June when Museum consultant Mary Kitson reflects upon the 2018 exhibition 'The Romantic Age'. Please visit our website to find out more & to book your place: https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/news/the-fan-museum-at-30-digital-lecture-series

On Wednesday 5th May 2021, The Fan Museum marked the special occasion of its thirtieth anniversary. Due to COVID-19, cel...
14/05/2021

On Wednesday 5th May 2021, The Fan Museum marked the special occasion of its thirtieth anniversary. Due to COVID-19, celebrations were inevitably curtailed, but the Museum’s Director and small team of staff were able to meet (socially distanced, of course) for a glass of champagne and a spectacular birthday cake themed around the Museum’s brand colours and distinctive logo.

Following on from the small reception attended by staff only, the Museum’s Founder and Director, Hélène Alexander gave a memorable talk to an online audience of more than eighty. Launching The Fan Museum at 30 series of online talks, her personal musings on several of the Museum’s past exhibitions were greatly enjoyed by all who attended. Please visit our website to find out more about the next talk in The Fan Museum at 30 series, scheduled for Wednesday 2nd June: https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/news/the-fan-museum-at-30-digital-lecture-series

The Fan Museum's Curator, Jacob Moss presents the latest episode in The Arts Society's 'Lectures from Home' video series...
21/04/2021

The Fan Museum's Curator, Jacob Moss presents the latest episode in The Arts Society's 'Lectures from Home' video series. Head over to their YouTube channel and watch Jacob explore from multiple perspectives the story of one mid-eighteenth century fan from The Fan Museum's collections, its leaf painted with a medley of trompe l'oeil images, including a portrait of Maria, Countess of Coventry. Follow the link to watch: https://youtu.be/s8Pgc4b1MCA

Image: Folding fan, England, ca. 1755/60. The Fan Museum, Helene Alexander Collection.

The Fan Museum's Curator, Jacob Moss presents the latest episode in The Arts Society's 'Lectures from Home' video series. Head over to their YouTube channel and watch Jacob explore from multiple perspectives the story of one mid-eighteenth century fan from The Fan Museum's collections, its leaf painted with a medley of trompe l'oeil images, including a portrait of Maria, Countess of Coventry. Follow the link to watch: https://youtu.be/s8Pgc4b1MCA

Image: Folding fan, England, ca. 1755/60. The Fan Museum, Helene Alexander Collection.

2021 marks thirty years since The Fan Museum first opened to the public. To celebrate this landmark anniversary, we're l...
06/04/2021

2021 marks thirty years since The Fan Museum first opened to the public. To celebrate this landmark anniversary, we're launching a series of free-to-attend online talks, each exploring a different aspect of the Museum’s extensive archive of fan-themed exhibitions. Talks will take place on the Zoom conferencing platform and advance booking is essential. To book places, please email [email protected] stating your full name and the title/s of the talk/s you would like to attend.
________________________________________

The Fan Museum at 30: Schedule of Talks

19.00–20.15 hrs BST, Wed 05 May 2021.
The Fan Museum at 30: 'Director’s Choice.'
Join The Fan Museum’s Founder and Director, Hélène Alexander as she reflects on 30 extraordinary years (to the day!) of exhibition making. Curator, Jacob Moss will facilitate a richly illustrated presentation in which Mrs Alexander will highlight just one exhibition from each of the past three decades she’s presided over. The talk will conclude with a short Q&A. If you would like to put questions to Mrs Alexander, please do so in advance by emailing [email protected]

19.00–20.15 hrs BST, Wed 02 June 2021.
The Fan Museum at 30: 'The Romantic Age.'
Join Mary Kitson, The Fan Museum consultant and Secretary to the Fan Circle International as she reflects on the 2019 exhibition, 'The Romantic Age'. Mary will discuss some of the exhibition’s key themes and illustrate a selection of early to mid-19th century fans featured within the displays.

19.00–20.15 hrs BST, Wed 07 July 2021.
The Fan Museum at 30: 'Seduced! Fans & the Art of Advertising.'
Join The Fan Museum’s curator, Jacob Moss as he reflects on the 2013 exhibition, 'Seduced! Fans & the Art of Advertising'. Jacob will discuss some of the key themes within the exhibition and present a colourful array of promotional fans dating from the late-19th century to interwar period.

19.00–20.15 hrs BST, Wed 04 August 2021.
The Fan Museum at 30: TBC
Details of the final talk in the current series coming soon.

Visit our website for more information: https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/news/the-fan-museum-at-30-digital-lecture-series

2021 marks thirty years since The Fan Museum first opened to the public. To celebrate this landmark anniversary, we're launching a series of free-to-attend online talks, each exploring a different aspect of the Museum’s extensive archive of fan-themed exhibitions. Talks will take place on the Zoom conferencing platform and advance booking is essential. To book places, please email [email protected] stating your full name and the title/s of the talk/s you would like to attend.
________________________________________

The Fan Museum at 30: Schedule of Talks

19.00–20.15 hrs BST, Wed 05 May 2021.
The Fan Museum at 30: 'Director’s Choice.'
Join The Fan Museum’s Founder and Director, Hélène Alexander as she reflects on 30 extraordinary years (to the day!) of exhibition making. Curator, Jacob Moss will facilitate a richly illustrated presentation in which Mrs Alexander will highlight just one exhibition from each of the past three decades she’s presided over. The talk will conclude with a short Q&A. If you would like to put questions to Mrs Alexander, please do so in advance by emailing [email protected]

19.00–20.15 hrs BST, Wed 02 June 2021.
The Fan Museum at 30: 'The Romantic Age.'
Join Mary Kitson, The Fan Museum consultant and Secretary to the Fan Circle International as she reflects on the 2019 exhibition, 'The Romantic Age'. Mary will discuss some of the exhibition’s key themes and illustrate a selection of early to mid-19th century fans featured within the displays.

19.00–20.15 hrs BST, Wed 07 July 2021.
The Fan Museum at 30: 'Seduced! Fans & the Art of Advertising.'
Join The Fan Museum’s curator, Jacob Moss as he reflects on the 2013 exhibition, 'Seduced! Fans & the Art of Advertising'. Jacob will discuss some of the key themes within the exhibition and present a colourful array of promotional fans dating from the late-19th century to interwar period.

19.00–20.15 hrs BST, Wed 04 August 2021.
The Fan Museum at 30: TBC
Details of the final talk in the current series coming soon.

Visit our website for more information: https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/news/the-fan-museum-at-30-digital-lecture-series

We take this opportunity to extend seasonal greetings to all our Facebook friends and followers. Your continued interest...
18/12/2020

We take this opportunity to extend seasonal greetings to all our Facebook friends and followers. Your continued interest in and support of The Fan Museum during this unprecedented year is wholly appreciated. We look forward to welcoming visitors back in 2021 when the Museum celebrates its thirtieth anniversary.

Meanwhile, please enjoy this selection of winter-themed fans from our collections and do remember to visit our website for last-minute Christmas gifts, news updates, feature articles and much more besides: www.thefanmuseum.org.uk

Head over to our online shop where you'll find a super variety of affordable, fan-themed gifts, including limited editio...
01/12/2020

Head over to our online shop where you'll find a super variety of affordable, fan-themed gifts, including limited edition Street Fans, crystal encrusted brooches, sustainable socks, finely embroidered handkerchiefs, 2021 calendars and much more besides. And remember - each and every purchase helps to support The Fan Museum during these challenging times.

https://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/shop

Enriching The Fan Museum Trust collection in 2020: an update from TFM Curator, Jacob Moss...In a year beset by innumerab...
16/11/2020

Enriching The Fan Museum Trust collection in 2020: an update from TFM Curator, Jacob Moss...

In a year beset by innumerable challenges caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic, The Fan Museum benefited from a number of interesting additions to its collections, including major acquisitions and gifts from Friends, supporters and members of the public - some of which are reviewed in brief here.

At the start of year, when few could have predicted the tumultuous months and events which lay ahead, The Fan Museum acquired an extraordinary folding fan (images 1-2) decorated by Gustave Doré (1832-1883). Dated ca. 1870, the fan’s mother of pearl sticks support a canepin leaf decorated with an original artwork signed by the artist. The subject is loosely based around a vision of Love vanquishing Evil and features warring putti, fantastical beasts and other grotesque entities reminiscent of illustrations made by the artist to accompany a deluxe edition 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).

This year the Museum was also fortunate to add to its existing collection of fans crafted by contemporary fan maker, Sylvain Le Guen. 'Carreaux à Pique' is an extraordinary confection which displays Le Guen’s trademark ‘Pop-Up’ innovation and incorporates complex sculptural forms based on the Japanese paper art of origami. Fashioned from two layers of black silk organza and mirrored foil, the cabriolet-style leaf is paired with needle-shaped sticks of polished ebony wood and demonstrates Le Guen’s technical prowess and artful approach to his specialist craft (images 3-4).

A generous bequest was made by a longstanding Friend of The Fan Museum, Mary Cosh, who sadly passed away earlier this year. During her lifetime the donor was an enthusiastic collector of hand fans and the Museum was pleased to take ownership of several interesting examples from her private collection. Highlights include a late-18th century Grand Tour souvenir fan (image 5) with finely carved ivory sticks supporting a kid skin leaf painted with a panoramic view of St Peter’s Square, Rome. The scene, populated throughout with figures going about their daily business or simply admiring the sites, brilliantly captures the hustle and bustle of the Italian city at a time when the Grand Tour was especially fashionable.

From the same bequest, an earlier-eighteenth century fan (image 6) is painted with a rather more unusual, Biblical subject – Christ calling the Apostles – for it would seem that New Testament subjects are something of a rarity within the field of fans, or at least within The Fan Museum’s collections. Here the subject decorating the leaf is adapted from an etching by Dutch print maker, William van der Gouwen (1650-1720).

Of a similar period and style, and also part of the Mary Cosh bequest, is a fan with ivory sticks inlaid at the gorge with mother of pearl, the pivot end carved in the round to resemble an acorn, suggesting English workmanship. The single leaf is painted on one side with an unidentified Classical subject within scenic borders inhabited by butterflies and minute characters painted in the popular Chinoiserie style (image 7). The reverse is painted with Hector, commander of the Trojan armies bidding farewell to his wife Andromache and their son Astyanax (image 8). The source of this particular composition we can trace back to an etching (image 9) by Jean Moyreau (1691–1762) after an oil painting by Bon Boullogne (1649-1717) held in the collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Troyes.

Also of interest is a recently donated English fan, circa 1740, the leaf decorated with an etching titled ‘Cleopatra & Marc Antony’ and enlivened with washes of bright watercolour (image 10). Sadly, the design carries no evidence of the print publisher’s name, which may or may not have been lost in the process of cutting the leaf in preparation for mounting. The design does, however, resemble other fan prints published at a similar date by an industrious figure of which comparatively little is known: Martha Gamble. Those keen to learn more about Ms Gamble should read Kirsty Hassard’s article, 'Martha Gamble, Sarah Ashton and their Contemporaries' published in 'European Fans in the Seventeenth & Eighteenth Centuries' (eds. Miriam Volmert, Danijela Bucherand) and/or visit the British Museum’s website to explore their online database which features a number of Gamble’s fan prints, including etchings after Hogarth’s ‘Harlot’s Progress’: www.britishmuseum.org/collection

The Fan Museum collection database URLs linking to each fan discussed within the text:
1. www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/collections/fan1094745
2. www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/collections/fan1094751
3. www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/collections/fan1195985
4. www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/collections/fan1195991
5. www.thefanmuseum.org.uk/collections/fan1195961

Hop into a sedan chair & join us as we travel back to the year 2016 when #otd the exhibition ‘Town & Country’ brought ou...
27/10/2020

Hop into a sedan chair & join us as we travel back to the year 2016 when #otd the exhibition ‘Town & Country’ brought our twenty fifth anniversary celebrations to a spectacular close. The exhibition provided an unusual perspective on a fascinating theme – depictions of the built environment – and brought together a fine selection of mostly eighteenth century fans decorated with stately houses, architectural landmarks, bustling city squares, parks & pleasure gardens.

Our collection of eighteenth century European fans is an impressive resource and covers a broad swathe of types and styl...
13/10/2020

Our collection of eighteenth century European fans is an impressive resource and covers a broad swathe of types and styles. When viewed and compared 'en mass', we begin to form an impression of the aesthetic similarities between fans made in a particular country or point in time. But within these clusters of stylistic replication are a number of rather more unusual, surprising examples, such as the one illustrating today's post, which dates from the end of the eighteenth century. At first glance the attractive design of motifs based on winged insects appears to have been made using applied birds' feathers, but on closer attention we learn that each individual motif has been carefully painted by hand. The overall effect is quite brilliant, not to mention highly original. The person who first carried this particular fan surely enjoyed standing out from the crowd!

Folding fan, England (probably) ca. 1790
Ivory, paint on silk.
The Fan Museum, Helene Alexander Collection

Images: Rhian Cox, 2020

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Tuesday 11am - 5pm
Wednesday 11am - 5pm
Thursday 11am - 5pm
Friday 11am - 5pm
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Sunday 12pm - 5pm

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Comments

hello, good morning! Any chance of the museum opening in September?
Throughout the years, many objects have been donated to or acquired for the National Collection. Two little-known treasures are these delicate 18th-century fans. They are decorated with images of well-dressed noble men, women and children enjoying the countryside. Rococo floral vignettes make up the decorative borders. Painted on paper and mounted on ivory slats, these fragile fans are in good condition. They will be displayed in the ‘Style for Status’ gallery currently being set up at MUŻA. This gallery will feature costumes, decorative objects, everyday items and paintings that show how the 18th century noble families of Malta lived. . . . #MUZA #MUZAmalta #beMUZA #beInspired #heritagemalta #nationalcollection #museum #decorativearts #appliedarts #costume
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!