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Royal Fans

Although many of the fans in this exhibition are personalised for their original owner, the fans shown here share a further layer of royal association, for three were decorated by members of the royal family.

The daughters of both Queen Charlotte and George III, and Queen Victoria, were keen amateur artists. Princess Elizabeth (Queen Charlotte’s third daughter) painted the fan celebrating the King’s recovery in 1789; she and her sister-in-law the Duchess of York also invented the rules of the card game ‘Royal Connections’. Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, the Princess Royal, decorated the leaf of the ornate fan given to the Queen on her thirty-seventh birthday, while her second daughter, Princess Alice, was probably responsible for decorating the wooden brisé fan for the thirty-seventh birthday of her sister-in-law, the Princess of Wales, in 1871.

Miniature portraits of Queen Victoria’s five daughters adorn the front guard of the ‘Osborne House’ fan, decorated in 1861 with a view of the royal holiday home in the Isle of Wight. The Queen’s ‘Autograph fan’ includes the names of most members of her vast family, including those of the future Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII, who presented the fan in 1887.


Princess Elizabeth, Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg, consort of Friedrich VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg (1770-1840)

'Royal Connections' fan

Empress Friedrich, consort of Friedrich III, Emperor of Germany & King of Prussia, 1st daughter of Queen Victoria (1840-1901)

The Princess Royal's fan

Emma Roberts (active 1861)

Osborne House fan