Tuesday's Treasure: 18th Century Fan

a fan painted with marie antoinette, the dauphin and louis xvi
If only I had known about this little fan sooner, I might have placed it on my Christmas Wish List!

This charming fan was sold at auction at Christie's in London for $1,233 (£750) - a bargain when one considers its historical significance.  The fan was made in the 18th Century.  The center images are that of Marie Antoinette and Louis, when they were still dauphine and dauphin of France.  The silk leaf has been embellished with sequins; the sticks are ivory.

One wonders who originally owned this fan...

Was it purchased as a souvenir by a young Englishman while on his Grand Tour? 

Did a bourgeois cafe owner, hopeful tha that dauphin and his beautiful Austrian wife would be the answer to his nation's woes, buy it to give to his wife?

Did it once dangle off the slender wrist of a powdered and pampered woman of minor noble birth?

What do you think?  Who do you imagine owned this fan?


  1. What a bargain indeed!!!!!!!! A very beautiful piece of history...

  2. I don't think it was anyone at Court, because surely they considered themselves too cool to carry the likeness of the King and Queen on a fan. Not Madame Roland (too supercilious and of the wrong political persuasion) nor Charlotte Corday (too serious)... How about Stryver from Tale of Two Cities? He, being a striver, bought it to impress a slightly less than sophisticated potential wife. Thought-provoking question! Thanks for the work you put into your blog. I enjoy it very much.

  3. If you think you can help me, please email me at ziggler15@yahoo.com. Please, don't publish my email. I own an antique French fan. It has an ornate mother of pearl and gilt handle, and a beautifully signed scene on the front left of the fan. On the front right of the fan is a coat of arms, that I believe is French. The back of the fan is also ornate. It has initials with a crown over them. I've been trying to research the fan for sometime but haven't had any luck. I found your site, and I'm hoping you'll agree to look at photos and give me your opinion. I'm having the fan framed to preserve it. My name is Ken Rose.


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