Fan Association of North America (FANA) had never devoted an article to
one of the more powerful monarchs ever: Louis XIV, (also said ''The
Great'' or ''The Sun King''), if we except in 1983-1984 a series of
articles dealing with the costumes of the time by Lenore Gershuny, (who
was for instance curator of ''Fanfare'', an exhibition at the
Smithsonian`s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.).
For this reason, this author wrote a small article for the March
2023 FANA Forum, that members may read online on the association
website (https://fanassociation.org/). However a more general public may be interested in this matter, and is now affered this short article, a little amended.
I will show here a fan which is not only of the time of Louis XIV, or
with the kind of attire then in fashion, but with the great king
himself. For people new to this matter, it may seem it is not a fan.
For it looks as a small painting. It is what connoisseurs often call in
France an « éventail au rectangle », but that many non-specialized experts call « projet d’éventail ». To know a little more about those objects you can read my article ''Hand Fans, Rectangles and Charivaris'' in Fans, the Bulletin of the FCI,
Autumn 2019, N° 107, p. 50-58. Another Hand Fans fans organization, and
another article available for members. Please consider joining! (https://fancircleinternational.org/) A similar article ("Éventails, rectangles et charivaris") may be found in Le Vieux Papier, F. 434, octobre 2019, p. 182-189; And on this website, You can have a look at two other "éventails au rectangle" : one with a pig... and one with a goose
!To make it short, let us say that a fan leaf has been extended to form
a rectangular painting. The leaf has then been stuck on a quite thin
wood panel. The void parts (upper angles and "gorge",
the semi-circle were original sticks took place) have been completed by
fitting pieces of skin (or paper? - difficult to be sure). Those parts
have been painted in order to continue the leaf: trees and sky or grass
and rocks. Although this transformation was made very soon after the
fan itself, it is likely that some brush strokes were also added to the
existing leaf itself, to give the best appearance to the whole object.
However, the folds of the leaf still remain visible.
Several fans of this kind may be seen in Pamela Cowen’s book (following a Greenwich Fan Museum exhibition) A Fanfare for the Sun King which ran from 4th June to 31st September 2003 (
Third Millennium; Main edition 1 July 2003)
About French fans and fans leaves linked to Louis XIV, there is still
nothing better. If you find it on the web (I see some at ridiculous
costs) or in auction sales, you will not regret your money. What do we
see here? The king is, of course, placed in a prominent location, and
leads a little troop of members of the Royal Family and courtyers. They
are looking at another party, following a pack which is about to attack
a deer: the quarry will soon take place.
those people, note some wearing blue clothes, which are reserved, by a
1659 royal ordinance, to the livery of the King’s huntsmen.
group with the king himself has been inspired by some other work of
art, presumably again by Adrian Van der Meulen, perhaps this on the
right (Vue du château de Fontainebleau du côté des parterres en 1669, Château Musée de Versailles,MV 4343 ; INV 1519 ; MR 856).
How can we be sure we see the king himself, and where does this action
take place ? The figure of Louis is easily recognizable, and the
fan is, as often, partly copied from an engraving, here after a 1670
painting by Van der Meulen, who was the author of many large paintings
showing the king hunting or at war. Look especially below at the right
part of the engraving and the background.
each case, we clearly see in the background the Château de
Fontainebleau, who was built by king François Premier and which will be
very used by Napoleon, but also where Louis XIV spent many weeks each
year before Versailles completion. We even can say that the painter
worked from a place now said Lapito rocks (longitude 2,7089, latitude
48,3944). There are now many more trees there, but behind them the
scenery is not very different.
I consider emphasizing this page some day, or turn it to a longer article. But I hope you have enjoyed it, as it is now.