I love fans. I find them beautiful and feminine and it’s a shame we don’t use them as much as a few centuries ago. Fan museum, in Greenwich, was on my “to-visit” list for London for some time. It’s a small museum near much more prominent attractions like the Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum or the Royal Observatory.
At the moment and until the end of the year they have the special exhibition Made in China. The display is beautiful. Considering how big are the temporary exhibitions, I hope I’ll be able to visit the museum again, next year.
In the Chinese section there were fans with peacock feathers or made of all sorts of different materials. The staff was very helpful and answered questions regarding them.
There are also ivory fans. I know is a delicate subject and, as a vegetarian, I would never own something made out of ivory. I understood why only fresh ivory can be used due to the way its consistency changes in time. But I don’t think the items made out of ivory or fur should be destroyed, especially old pieces. They are part of our history as humans, they shaped our way of thinking and our compassion for the animals.
This fan has an amazing history, it belonged to Queen Elizabeth I and it’s from 1590s. A similar fan appears in the Ditchley portret of Queen Elizabeth I. The staff told me the painting is on display at the National Portrait Gallery. I didn’t get the chance to visit that museum, but I will keep in mind to look for the painting with the fan.
I think it’s amazing the fan still exists after more than 400 years.
The museum is National Trust partner and I had 50% discount with my NT membership card. The entry fee, without the discount, is only £4 and I think is worth it. Have you been to the museum or it’s something you would be interested in seeing?