Unfolding Beauty: The Art of the Fan

Anna Gray Bennett, Author
Anna Gray Bennett, Author Thames & Hudson $48.2 (0p) ISBN 978-0-500-23520-1
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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Boston's Museum of Fine Arts has what is generally considered to be the most extensive collection of fans in North America; 100 full-page color examples from the museum are shown in this attractive volume. Descriptions of iconography and information on approximate date of design, country of origin and materials used accompany excellent photographs of the pieces. We see fans made of lace, feathers, silver, tortoiseshell, paper and ivory, decorated with depictions of classical subjects, balloons and balloonists, a stagecoach robbery, scenes of daily lifeeven a satiric commemorative of Prime Minister Walpole's controversial excise-tax measure of 1733. In a brief introduction, the history of the fan is succinctly traced: from its rise to prominence as a fashion accessory in the 16th century, when Henri III of France first used one at court, to its demise during World War I, when such luxury items, not considered patriotic, went out of style. Those with a keen interest in the decorative arts will be delighted by this book. (August)
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