XVIIth, XVIIIth and XIXth Centuries (Hand)screens (or Fixed Fans)

(Hand)screens The Harvesters (detail),
Favart, Voisenon and Duni Comedy,
recto, circa 1768
Paris, Private Collection
Photo : D.R.

Emblematic of the decorative arts and fashion of their era, and mistakenly confused with fans, these small (hand)screens (or « fixed fans »), once manufactured on a large scale, were used to protect faces from the fireplace heat. Often made from a piece of cardboard, which was secured to a wooden handle (the ornament measuring some forty centimeters in length), they were adorned with engravings, printed texts and hand-painted decorative motifs.

Nathalie Rizzoni – researcher (CNRS and Université Paris-Sorbonne), who has been studying the privileged relationship between arts, decorative arts and literature of the 18th century – is preparing a monograph on this fragile and poetic object, which is rarely stored in public collections but which can be sometimes found in private homes.

She would like to thank in advance any institution, collector or private owner who would be happy to let her discover their handscreens, or intact engravings, for this publication.

Mailing address :

Centre d’Étude de la Langue et de la Littérature Françaises des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, CELLF 17e-18e, UMR 8599 du CNRS et de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne,
1 rue Victor Cousin,
75230 Paris cedex 05, France

Email : nathalie.rizzoni@paris-sorbonne.fr

For more information about handscreens based on an exceptional series of six French handscreens from 18th century, which are kept at the Fan Museum in London, go to the following link :


La Tribune de l’Art, lundi 24 juin 2013

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