The Fan Museum in Greenwich, London

The only museum in the world devoted in its entirety to all aspects of the ancient art and craft of the fan is the Fan Museum in Greenwich. The museum boasts of a collection of 3,500 predominantly antique fans from all around the world dating from the 11th century to the present day.

Portrait of the founders of the Fan Museum

The Museum is housed in two Grade II listed houses built in 1721. The Museum also includes an orangery decorated with murals, a Japanese-style garden with a fan-shaped parterre, a pond, and a stream.

This delicately carved fan is made entirely from ivory. It was made in Canton in China towards the end of the 18th century. These fans were very fashionable and were usually made of carved and pierced ivory worked to a maximum degree of finesse, lace like in their delicacy and matching the light muslins and cottons which were in fashion then.

Mother of pearl carved brise fan - made in the far East for the European Market

Mother of pearl fans - Mother-of-pearl is one of the most difficult materials to work on. The fan below has been beautifully designed and incised and its guards are exquisitely carved with dragons on them. This fan was probably made in China around 1830 and belonged to Princess Mary of Teek.

This is a wooden brise fan(metal loop and rivet) painted with a pier with figures and carriages in front of it, a bunch of violets and a spray of bell flowers painted in the reserves.

An ivory and mother-of-pearl fontage fan, the sticks and guards are of sculptured mother-of-pearl with marine motifs carved and painted.

Helen of Troy - a fine mother-of-pearl fan, the monture is carved and the gilt is in two colours of gold with figures, birds and rococo scrolls.

A typical 'tri-fold' fan with the outer wings folding back into the main bell shape of the fan.

12 Crooms Hill,
Greenwich, London SE10 8ER
Telephone: 0208-305 1441, 0208-293 1889

Open hours:
Tuesday - Saturday: 11am - 5pm
Sunday: 12 noon - 5pm

Adults: £4.00
Concessions: £3.00
Children (under 7): Free
Over 7 and under 16: £3

On Tuesday afternoons, from 2pm, OAP and disabled visitors are admitted free of charge to the permanent exhibition - only when special exhibitions are held.

The museum also holds fan-making classes on the first Saturday of every moth.

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