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Object Name Fan
Date 1840-1850
Description Folding fan (Romantic or Rococo Revival style). Printed and hand-colored paper leaf. Front has a romantic scene of men and women flirting in a pastoral setting, with surrounding metallic decoration of scrollwork and fruit baskets. Reverse side of leaf has metallic printed decoration with vignettes of exoticised Asian scenes surrounded by floral and vase designs, and a colored central medallion of two figures in European Renaissance costume. Bone sticks with incised and drilled decoration and applied metallic foil. Riveted at bottom, with metal loop and silk tassel. Fan retains its original cardboard box with printed label: "CHILSON'S / FANCY GOODS & TOILET ARTICLES / 305 and 589 Broadway / NEW YORK." Probably made in France.
(Keywords: Fashion, Accessory, Historicism, Landscape, Pastoral Scene, European, Exoticism, Asian, Romantic, Rococo Revival, Chinoiserie, Victorian)

Acquisition Gift of Edward Merrell Stothers
Ownership and History The design on this fan is highlighted with gold paint and metallic foil ornamentation that would have shimmered with reflected light when it was new. Although opulent in appearance, this is a type of fan that was designed to be affordable to the middle class. Its subject matter suggests flirtation, especially the manner in which the woman at the center of the scene offers a piece of fruit to the man at left.

A handwritten inscription inside the box lid gives the provenance of this fan: "Presented By Capt. Martling / When I was 19 years old / Ella Merrell". An additional inscription from Ella Merrell's son, Edward Merrell Stothers, notes that since Ella was born in 1839, the date of the fan presentation was 1858. Perhaps Captain Martling was an early suitor of Ella Merrell, before her marriage to David Stothers in 1866. Their son donated this fan to the Staten Island Historical Society in 1937.
Earliest Date 1840
Latest Date 1850
Material Paper/Bone
Subjects Romances
Lexicon Sub-category Personal Gear
Associated People Stothers, Eleanor (Merrell)
Catalog Number C02.0124--dup001
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Fan Association of North America (FANA), 2011. (
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.