Home|Ladies' Quarter. Fan Collection (Hall 5)

Ladies' Quarter. Fan Collection (Hall 5)

The hand-held fan was perhaps the most essential accessory in women's wear in the Romantic era. It was hugely successful in the majority of social classes and its use in daily life was quite common up until the 20th century. There were all sorts of fans for all occasions. It was much more than a practical object, and became the basic tool in a new mode of communication, establishing a private language that was known to many.

There are more than 300 fans on display in this gallery, illustrating a great variety of shapes, materials and techniques. Notice the diversity of subject matter on view in this showcase-mythological, allegorical, decorative, popular and commemorative. Take for example the souvenir fan from the 1829 wedding of Fernando VII to his last wife María Cristina of Naples. Or those from the first Great Exhibition of London in 1851 and the 1900 Paris World's Fair. There are also autographed fans, like the one that belonged to Italian soprano Adelina Patti, with the autographs of such famous composers as Puccini, Sarasate and Pedrell, among others. It can be found in the other large fan showcase, located to the right of the doorway.