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A Victorian Fan Sampler
November 2007-March 2008

The Late Victorian Era, 1880-1895 was a time of transition for the western world as the Industrial Revolution had begun. Undercurrents of societal changes can be seen in the fans chose for this exhibition. The Victorians at this time were very well aware of the shift away from a pastoral lifestyle to one that brought them into a wider world. The advent of cars and the manufacturing in great quantities goods that used to be rare, all added to this brave new world, and they sensed the loss of a quieter simpler life and that concern can be seen in these fans.

A very common theme for fan art at this time were images of beautiful young women, often alone among flowers, sitting on a crescent moon, or out in a garden setting, arousing strong sentimental feelings. These were the traditional large sized fans with hand painted scenes on lace.

They were also fond of using 'mourning fans' with scenes of mourners at the graveside as a remembrance of loved ones; these being hand painted in somber monotones.

Victorians loved to do handcrafts and collecting signatures at dances and parties or making scrap fans of places visited on plain imported Japanese fans was quite a popular pastime.

This period also saw their interest in faeries, mythical creatures and images of playful innocent children, again echoing their concern for the loss of innocence and simplicity in this new era.

A very interesting time in history as seen through fans and a color catalog is available of this exhibit for $15.
©2007-2012 The Hand Fan Museum. The Hand Fan Museum is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization.