The Romantic Age:
European Fans 1810-1840
The Fan Museum’s third and final temporary exhibition of 2018 offers fascinating insights into a relatively overlooked period within the history of fans…
In Europe, the beginning of the 19th century witnessed significant social and political upheavals. The Napoleonic Wars reverberated across the continent and affected life on an unprecedented scale. In France, fan-makers and their apprentices downed tools and joined the military and the ‘golden age’ of fan-making, typified by the exquisitely crafted confections of the previous century, appeared to reach an abrupt end. Although the materials used to fashion fans were, as a result of trading embargoes, generally less precious, fans continued to reflect the hopes, fears and aspirations of society at large.
Celebrating a period during which historical ideals and past traditions were glorified, The Romantic Age features a diverse array of fans ranging from intricate brisé models to Franco-Spanish examples decorated with subjects such as the operas of Rossini – at their most popular during the 1820s-1830s following the composer’s celebrated tour of Spain.
Additionally, fans which reflect the troubadour style and a return to the chivalric principles of the past will be on display alongside fans commemorating Napoleon and the return of his ashes to France in 1840.
Image courtesy of the Fan Museum, London