I’ve mentioned before that one of the things I collect is antique fans. I like that they are small and easy to store, and that they are so evocative of the events they might have been carried at.
I wonder where they came from. Were they a gift from a beau? A commemoration of being grown-up enough to go out from a parent?
What secrets were told behind them? What faces did they cool after a spirited dance? What frocks were they worn with, and what flirtations did they signal? So many stories in a fan!
This particular fan from my collection is particularly gorgeous, and particularly evocative of a fascinating back-story. Whose face was reflected in the mirror. Did she use it to spy on other partigoers? Or to check that every hair was in place?
The other side of the fan tells the rest of the story. The fan was a souvenir, brought back from somewhere exotic.
Did the owner buy it herself, as a memento from a special trip?
Or did someone bring it back for her? A friend or admirer?
I wonder if she loved and cherished it: perhaps so much she never used the fan at all. On the other hand, she may have thought it was odd and tacky and useless, like most souvenirs these days!
The fan is very cunning: the leaves fold together and slip down into the handle with its mirror inset, and then pull out again with a bit of ribbon on the top.
It’s a beautiful piece, and I’m so glad to own it, but there is so much I don’t know about it. Where was it a souvenir of? How old is it (someone suggested 1870s, but that’s the only guess I’ve heard).