Fan Museum (Greater London - England)

Remember my post on the Sewing Machine Museum? Similar to that, another quirky museum here is the fan museum. A factor that totally amused me here in London was the absence of ceiling or table fans. Its so rare!!! Its mostly rainy or cold here and in summers it gets a bit warm. So some women carry hand held fold-able fans to cool themselves in those hot summer days! Since long women here have been using fans here and there are specimens ever since Renaissance times available today, which is all here in display!!!
Here are some of the fans in display there:
The below fan is a masterpiece. It depicts the 20th birthday of Dauphin and was made in 1681. Its an extended painting of the fan leaf. Dauphin is the son of Louis XIV of France. The material is vellum (Calf skin). As you can see all the important people are in the fan leaf shape. Later on the floor detailing was extended in the inner section and architecture & nature was extended in the outer section.
There was also a couple of fans painted by Paul Gauguin. The down one is made in China in 1790. Its an engraved on ivory with 2 layers of painted paper depicting Praya Grande in Macau. Below one is an English/Italian fan of 1780 depicting the Triumph of Aurora painted on double vellum with ivory sticks.


This is a 1750s fan most probably from France, made of Mother of Pearl & Double Paper, titled the intervention of Sabine Women. The ivory is gilded and has burgo insertions and carved with figures, trophies & flowers.
This one blew my mind off. Its made of Oriental Pearl Oyster and is engraved, complete with some lace-y hole structures. Below is of a much later era -1906 from France. This was after the invention of printing techniques and this was made with chromolithograph.

Here are the details of some fans. This is a French fan of 1770s, depicting the celebration of marriage, with a man proposing a woman with cupid flying above painted on it. The sticks are engraved, pierced & gilded!
This one is from France made in 1775, made of tortoise shell and double vellum. The detailing & engraving of the shell - isn't that mind blowing! The one below is made in China for export, made in 1840-60. The ivory sticks are stained, engraved and pierced with motifs of flowers, summerhouses & motifs. The double paper leaf depicts dignitaries, elderly people, their servants etc.


This is the leaf detail of 1890s-1900s Baroness Riedel Fan from France. The lace is Chantilly Bobbin lace and has 4 gauze insertions on which hand painting of amoretti has been done to depict the 4 seasons.
This is a 1790 carved & pierced ivory fan from China meant for export. This might have been commissioned by HRH Queen Mary of Edinburgh.
There are also some collectibles here from various countries. It did include one from India, hand embroidered in Piple, Orissa as well.




To Get There:
Nearest metro station: Greenwich
Entry Ticket: £4 (can be bought at the gate)

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

20 comments:

  1. If I'm going to go to a museum, it definitely has to be quirky! All these fans are so intricate and beautiful, I can't decide which one is my favorite. It looks like most of these fans are French and/or Chinese, which is so interesting to me. I love seeing how different places in the world take on artforms and make them unique.

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  2. What a different kind of museum but if one is into history and beautiful things so why not visitng a fan museum!? They are all very beautiful and its a shame that this part of the world we are not using them anymore.

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  3. I see some really great and beautiful pieces of art here. I am always fascinated by such designs with so many details enriched. I could get lost by watching for hours and try to detect every little detail. I have been to London many times but never made it to the Fan museum, which is a shame as I see now, reading your article and checking these great pieces. For my taste, the french ones truly are incredibly beauty but all of them are beautiful anyway.

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  4. This is so impressive, and another London museum I've never heard of. I love my fans, but they break after 2 weeks! That said I can't imagine some of these date back to 1775, and so stunning with detail too!

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  5. These are gorgeous. Such work of art . I particularly loved the Ivory one and the Shell one. The Shell one was like a complete masterpiece. Well captured Bhushavali

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  6. Oh my, what gorgeous fans! Imagine the work that went into creating these...they would be too nice to use as a fan! Absolultely gorgeous. I loved seeing all the Japanese fans when we were in Tokyo - some beautiful designs there, I bought one home but want to mount it or put in some kind of frame to hang on the wall. Great post!

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  7. This place looks so neat. The detail on those fans is really detailed and exquisite. I would love to go here and see them.

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  8. This museum looks amazing! We're definitely going to have to pay it a visit the next time we're on the other side of the pond!

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  9. Very interesting display of the history of fans. I'm very far from there so I don't think I'll ever go there.

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  10. This is absolutely unique museum I have ever heard of. I am stunned by the Oriental Pearl Oyster. Such details on the hand fan and the history behind it. Happy to see the Indian Lace fan as well. I love reading your post on these interesting places in London.

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  11. Wow! I didn't know that there is a fan museum! Thank you so much for letting me know such a cool place. I love that there are many displays of fan from different countries around the world. I love the ones from France :) All of them are beautiful.

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  12. A fan museum, how interesting! Who knew such an item had so much history behind it? These fans are so pretty, almost too pretty to consider using. I especially like the oriental pearl oyster one!

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  13. This is such an awesome fan museum. Lots of stunning fan here in the museum. I really like the most is this made of tortoise shell it looks so unique and elegant fan.

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  14. There are some very impressive fans on show in the fan museum. I've been to Greenwich but never knew about this unique museum. The fan made from oriental pearl oyster is the most impressive for me. I'm surprized how many of these were brought over from France!

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  15. It looks like a unique museum. When we think of fans, we think only of table fans and ceiling fans. Those type of hand-held fans of the last half the last millennium, really interests me. I would love to visit this museum. Thank you for bringing such an informative article.

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  16. Never seen so many beautiful fans at one place! Lovely museum!

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  17. Wow, I didn´t know Paul Gauguin painted fans as well! And that fan made up of oriental pearl oyster was just outstanding!

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  18. The collection of fans in this museum are nothing short of exquisite. Each one is a work of art in itself. I found it difficult to choose one favourite. Would love to browse through this museum.

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  19. omg these are like luxurious foldable fan! We also have it here in the Philippines, with various designs, but this museum is over the top. I want to visit soon!

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  20. Those fans are beautiful! I really like some of the designs. I live in a tropical country so I still use those type of fans. However, I only use a simple fan.

    ❀ Grace ❀

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