My friend, Mary Jane, told me the Fan Museum in Greenwich was worth a visit, so I added it to our itinerary. On the way to the museum we walked past a beautiful park. Parks are a big thing in London - highly used for relaxation and enjoyment. It's the only yard many of the residents have to enjoy.
A few days before I left for England, I did a presentation for a group of senior ladies about Parasols, Hankies, Gloves, and Fans. The more I studied fans, the more fascinated I became with them, and was eager to learn more. The Fan Museum was very educational and FANtastic!
It occupies two Georgian architectural town houses that date back to 1721, located at 12 Croom's Hill. They have been restored internally and externally, and are lovely.
Since the 1950's Helene Alexander [the founder of the museum along with her late husband, A.V.] has collected and assembled one of the most comprehensive collections of fans in the world - 2,000 plus! The museum opened to the public in 1991, and is the only one in the world devoted entirely to the art and craft, history and geography, and everything pertaining to fans.
An ivory elephant tusk used to make an intricately carved ivory fan.
The shell of an oriental pearl oyster for a mother-of-pearl nineteenth-century fan.
Fan leafs were made from paper-thin kid skin, vellum, lace, silk, cotton, wood, parchment, and paper.
The 1890's fan below was made from beautiful Belgium lace.
The other display area is thematic [flowers, animals, birds, mythology, sports, children, religion, leisure, contemporary, etc.], and changes at least every four month for conservation reasons. The thematic displays reflect the vast range of subjects that have inspired fan-makers throughout the ages. After touring the museum, I noticed fans exhibited at Kensington Palace and the Queen's Gallery. Fans were not only fashion accessories, but intricate works of art.
~ Folding Fans ~
Aren't they all beautiful?
~ Cockade Fans ~
At the back of the museum, a Georgian Orangery overlooks a garden where you can have Afternoon Tea. Unfortunately, is was booked for a private party the day we were there, so we couldn't go in. Next time! ;-) The museum's Orangery was written up in Travel as one of London's Ten Best Afternoon Teas.
[Photo courtesy of Travel]
What did I purchase at the Fan Museum? Two fans and a book. One fan was made with ivory Battenburg lace to match a parasol I purchased for my presentation, and the other was made from thin wood. I guess I have a 'fan collection' now because I bought one on my recent trip to Washington, D.C., and I bought three at the $ store [of all places!] for my presentation. I was going to give them away as prizes but they were so pretty I kept them myself! ;-)
Thanks for recommending the museum, Mary Jane! It was definitely worth seeing.
From the Fan Museum we went to three outdoor flea markets in Greenwich, and had our first Fish and Chips of the trip at a local pub - tomorrow's post.