COLLECTION: Costume Accessories

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Fan, wedding (with separate case & paper)

ca. 1780
Origin: Great Britain, England, worn in Virginia
OL: 9 3/4"
Laid paper, etching with engraving, watercolor (grisaille), foil, tin-plated copper sequins, carved and pierced bone sticks, wood ribs.
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1992-172,1
Folding fan with twenty bone and wooden sticks, carved and pierced with scrolls and flowers. Paper leaf is printed and painted in muted colors of grey, white and flesh tones in a centralized marriage scene showing a woman and man facing each other before a temple, with a winged god (Hyman?) standing between them, and three putti nearby. Neoclassical urns within diamond-shaped sequined frames and trailing leaf ornaments fill in the spaces. Costume of man consists of collared (frock) coat and knee breeches; he holds his cocked hat; his hair is worn with single curl over ear and queue. Woman wears trained gown open to reveal patterned petticoat, a closed bodice fitted at back, and double sleeve ruffles; her hair is worn large and high on her head with a scarf or kerchief hanging down back. Putti holds train of her gown. Back of fan has single leafy spray at center.
Label:Marriage fans were given at weddings as commemorative gifts to attendants or close friends; they could also be carried by the bride. This fan came in a case labeled "Miss Nancy Bland." Tradition states that Nancy was Ann Poythress Bland (b. 1735), daughter of Richard Bland, a prominent Virginia burgess. Since the style of the fan is too late for her own marriage to John Pryor sometime around 1760, the fan probably belonged to her son's wife, also named Ann Poythress Bland.
Provenance:Used by Nancy Bland, daughter of Richard Bland (1710-1776) and Anne Poythress, his first wife. Richard Bland was a member of the House of Burgesses from 1742-1775. See paper document 1992-172,3, for family history.