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An Eighteenth century harbour scene In French HERE

This Question was the first we asked on this site ... It was in the second millennium of our era!

We indicated that we were showing a fan dating back to ca. 1770, depicting a harbour with a boat carrying the English flag. We wanted to identify the pictured site. We were convinced it was not an imaginary one, especially as this rather naive leaf was mounted on very elaborated sticks. So we assumed that the sce HAD a meaning.

We fancied  that the young woman could be the famous Flora MacDonald, who had saved "Bonnie Prince Charlie" (the pretender to the throne of England, fought at Culloden) by dressing him in the clothes of her maid Betty Burke. Unfortunately, over the years, none of our visitors gave us any comments or suggestions.


Yet, as the French proverb says:  "Tout vient à point qui sait attendre" (All things come to those who wait).

At the end of summer 2013, Vera, a kind visitor and a recent collector of fans, contacted us. Indeed, she had acquired a fan showing the same scene as ours. This one is printed. This fan seems a priori a few decades older but, as always, we must be careful and not believe that the leaf and the sticks were necessarily made ​​at the same time. Anyway, this modest printed leaf is also mounted on high quality sticks.

Alas Vera has no more information than we do about what these fans (except for the presence of flags of the United Kingdom) or their meaning. The existence on the same subject of a printed fan and a painted one and even the very fact that there are some differences between them confirms (in our opinion) the interest and perhaps even the historical significance of these documents.


But nothing better than pictures : please have a look and enjoy.                                                              

As ever,  we forbid any reproduction of the photographs without our previous agreement.

port cphb port Vera


port Vera d1    port d 1


face d 2

port Vera d 2

face d 3 port vera d3

On the printed fan, we can distinguish on the pediment of the central building  a coat of arms with a chevron (rather than two?),  apparently with three pellets. Unfortunately the lack of color as well as of  the respect of heraldic rules makes the identification uncertain. As examples, see on the left the coat of arms of the small town of Semblançay, in France, and on the right Burnley's (N.W. of England... but not by the sea). However, this can be an aid to brain-storming!

Semblançay
frontonBurnley


Rereading this page at the end of 2017 ... almost 20 years after the first time it was posted online, I make a relationship with another of our fans, entered a long time ago in our collection, which shows both a scene with a washerwoman and a port scene. These decades of frequenting the fans, supported by the study of the History of Art, led me to the belief that we can very often read a story, taken in the news, the theater or in a novel, or even left to the imagination of the "readers" of the fan. That's why I add here a photo showing this washerwoman (a profession of women considered of easy virtue) and this young man (a fisherman?).  The too look obviously towards the harbour where, as on the fan above, men are preparing to load a boat. What do these barrels or bales contain?


washerwoman and port



Can you identify the harbours where all those people are acting?

         Do we see there only shipments of products?

         Recognizable historical events?

Or  only
stories that every "reader" of the fan can imagine?

 
Thank you for letting us know your opinion!


... and do not forget the other questions

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