Object of the Week: Georgian Fans

This week our curator, Morag Clement, talks about “Georgian Fans”.

Georgian Fan – Ivory and Paper

Fans were a most desirable fashion accessory in Georgian times and depending on your wealth and status were made with ornate and indulgent materials such as tortoise shell, mother of pearl, gold and even ivory. Many fans would also have intricate scenes printed on the fabric, which would be revealed as the pleats unfolded.

However, regardless of how fashionable your fan was, you would not be considered elegant unless you held it in the right way. It was believed that even the plainest woman could become attractive if she used her fan graciously.

Georgian Fan – Paper and Tortoiseshell

In the eighteenth the fan became a vital part of a lady’s expression and body language. The language of the fan became commonplace at dinner parties, balls and social gatherings, whereby ladies could send messages across a room without saying a word.

Morag Clement MA(Hons), MPhil, FSAScot 
Archaeology Curator 
Kendal Museum

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