Renaissance Fans

The feather fan was found all through Europe at this time and was a lovely addition to a ladies ensemble.  My fan was made from a handle for a tussy mussy.  This is a Victorian term for a handle in which you would hold a posy of flowers.  This tussy mussy is not an antique, but a reproduction I found in a wonderful little shop one day and as soon as I laid my eyes on it I knew it had to follow me home and turn into a fan.  And here’s a picture.

The flag fan while not restricted to Venice became synonymous with the region. This design appears to have had its origins in the East, as did a good many of the best things in Europe at the time.  The earliest flag fan I can document is 1342 in a painting by Piotro Lorenzetti, Birth of the Virgin.  This fan in this painting has very strong geometric decoration.  Other examples of flag fans can be seen later in portraits by Titian, Veronese and Bassano.  The flag part of the fan seems to be fixed and I have no conclusive reason for believing otherwise.  For my fan I used a piece of down and colonial finials for the endings to form the handle.  I carved a spiral into the handle and highlighted the cut with gold.  Also the finials were accented with gold to give more depth.   The flag part itself is made from parchment style paper to imitate real parchment, which I painted similarly to the one seen in the Veronese painting above.  This was doubled as it was wrapped around the handle and the two sides sandwiched and glued together to hold it firmly to the handle.  The spiral was then re-cut through the paper around the handle to give the effect of a continuous and uninterrupted spiral.  

For some really nice instructions on one artisans spin on three different fan designs click here

For more information on the history of fans click here and here.

For images of extant fans click here, they're really quite extra ordinary.


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All intellectual content, composition, layout, designs and photographs copyright 2007 to Deborah Lane © , 2003 to Deborah Murray © or Mistress Oonagh O'Neill ©. All Original renaissance art works and artefacts are not copyright to Deborah Lane, and are shown for educational use only.  If you see something you'd really like to use, please contact me!


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