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Unfolding Pictures

‘I cool, I refresh, and I can keep secrets’. These words, incorporated into the design of a fan presented to Queen Alexandra, perfectly encapsulate the role of the fan as both practical and social accessory. This first ever exhibition of fans from the Royal Collection brings together over 80 examples from the early 17th century to the 1930s.  All were acquired by, created for or given to their royal owners and are therefore among the finest fans in existence. They have been used at weddings, christenings and coronations, and have passed down through the royal family over the centuries.  

Among the highlights of the exhibition are a leather fan from around 1600, said to have belonged to Charles I; fans by Duvelleroy and Félix Alexandre of Paris, the finest 19th-century fan-makers; three fans by Carl Fabergé, including one purchased by the Tsarina for her sister Queen Alexandra; two dolls’ fans painted by Marie Laurençin; and a vast ostrich feather fan, presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother by the Worshipful Company of Fan Makers at the time of the Coronation in 1937.

Exhibition highlights

Cantonese School, c.1800

Ivory cockade fan

Henrik Emanuel Wigström (1862-1923)

Queen Alexandra's Fabergé fan

Charles Beale Gunner (active 1937)

Queen Elizabeth's coronation fan

Map & directions

The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8DX
By car

There is a public car park adjacent to the Palace at Broad Pavement. Please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website for more details.

Accessible parking spaces are located on Horse Wynd, just outside the Palace, on a first-come first-serve basis.

By train

Edinburgh Waverley. The Queen's Gallery is a 15 minute walk from the station.

By tram

The nearest tram stop is York Place. The Queen’s Gallery is a 20 minute walk from the station. Visit Edinburgh Trams for times and fares.

By coach / bus

Bus numbers 6 and 35 stop near the Gallery.  Open-top tour buses stop nearby.

Limited free coach parking is available adjacent to the Palace. Alternative pay-and-display coach parking is available on nearby Regent Road.

By bike

A free-to-use public bicycle rack is located opposite the Scottish Parliament. Cycle hire stations are available nearby on both Holyrood Road and Abbeyhill, within a 5 minute walk of the Palace and The Queen’s Gallery. Visit Edinburgh Cycle Hire for details.