All Creatures Great and Small
23 May – 16 September 2017
From the humorous to the curious, this exhibition explores fans that have been decorated with animals.
Animals have been a source of inspiration for fan painters throughout the centuries; in fact, all manner of beasts appear in this display of examples produced from the 1700s onwards. One highlight is an early 18th-century Dutch fan that has been delicately painted with pheasants, parrots and turkeys (at the time considered exotic, even collectable creatures).
Meanwhile, there are a number of pieces from the 20th century – a period when animal subjects became a distinct trend in fan art, allowing painters who specialised in capturing wild and wonderful creatures to carve out a successful niche.
A piece featuring anthropomorphic cats and dogs that was created by one of the most celebrated animalier fan painters of the 20th century, Adolph Thomasse , continues to enchant fan collectors to this day.