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18th Century Fans | History of Fashion Design

18th Century Fans


 The fan was the most essential accessory in a fashionable woman’s wardrobe. With it, she could gesture encoded messages using one of the numerous “fan languages” published by enterprising print shops, or simply use it as a natural adjunct to her hand gestures.

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Above photos taken at the Royal Art and History Museum, Brussels, Belgium.

The most common fan in the 18th Century was the folding variety based on Chinese models. Unlike their Asian counterparts, however, European fans had elaborately carved and decorated sticks, made of ivory, mother-of-pearl, horn, wood, and tortoise shell. Fan leaves were made of vellum and paper and were both hand painted and printed. Lace fans were extremely unusual and fabric fans were not used at all until the 19th Century.

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Above photos taken at the Royal Art and History Museum, Brussels, Belgium.


Print of a fan design “The Ball of the Nations” mid 18th Century

Fan with painted Miniatures, 1st half of the 18th Century (Kohler)

Fan of the 1st half of the 18th Century (Kohler)

Fan with painted miniature, middle of the 18th Century (Kohler)

18th Century fan from Speltz

Fan showing the French Royal Family c.1780 


 Spanish Fan of the 1st half of the 18th Century 

Detail of a French Fashion plate of 1778..

Fan c.1775 in the Cameron Gallery.

French 18th century fan from Max von Boehn’s Das Beiwerk der Mode, 1928

Fan with Neo Classical motifs, end of the 18th Century. (Kohler)

More 18th Century Fan Photos and notes by Argentum – The Leopard’s Head Antique Silver



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