Rare 18th century French hand painted gouache on heavy paper. Gold and silver foil on the guards and strands/sticks, entirely hand carved and decorated also in pastilles, garlands and pique. A charming theme played out in the gold-leafed figure on the guards: each one shows a golden boy carrying his pet bird in a small cage. And in the paintings on the front of the fan, to right: this is a "coconut" merchant who carries a toile fountain/flask on his back with goblets, also, and is selling a popular drink of the era, a combination of lemon and licorice. The other paintings are of period Romantic era scenes like picnic, the woman with a pottery wine jug carried on her head. Hats and horns, torches and flowers, insects and hand made and sewn sequins (pastilles) adorn the paper leaf. And on the reverse side, flowers, trees, and a central vignette of a dovecote, the small building where doves or exotic birds were kept (often by a gentleman of note who was very proud to show off this often opulently crafted bird house). Looking very closely at this one, I think the shimmery material underlying the carving on the guards is actually mica. It's too thin to be mother of pearl and it has a different look to it. Mica was used in that era, very thin panels of it. Quite sure that's what I'm seeing on this fan. The button at the
Very good to excellent condition for its very advanced age and type of materials. It is not perfect, though for a fan of c.1750-70s, it is quite stunning and displays beautifully. The fine silk leaves (2) are rather thick, very little split at the old folds, some foxing and some darkening of age. Those impossibly slender sticks and guards are all there. I have featured images of old restorations done with Japanese rice paper, very nice conservation to the naturally fragile old work of art. No breaks to guards or sticks They are strong, though, and whole, protected all this time in the original card box, which is quite remarkable as well. The fan is 27.5 cm folded (10.5") and opens to 50 cm in full.
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