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An Edwardian Ostrich Feather Fan

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posted by alias raaen99 on Friday 25th of June 2021 01:26:36 PM

I love to collect vintage accessories. This includes antique fans. My favourite fans are those from the Victorian and Edwardian era. Fans from these eras are extremely ostentatious and beautiful, but at such advanced age are often very fragile. This is an ostrich feather and tortoiseshell fan from the early 1900s. The struts are made of tortoiseshell and the fan itself is made from naturally undyed ostrich plumes. Usually, ostrich feathers were bleached to make them white or to then colour them to match a lady’s outfit. This one is unusual in the fact that it hasn’t been coloured. The fan has been carefully colour graded and put together with plumes that run from paler ones at the front to darker ones at the opposite end, which makes it very striking when splayed out. The theme for “Smile on Saturday” for the 26th of June is “feathers”. When I read the theme, I immediately thought of my collection of antique fans. I took this photo some time ago when I was curating my collection. I liked how it showed the beautiful grading of colours and the textures of the feathers. I did not imagine that I would have a cause to use it on Flickr. If you do not approve of tortoiseshell or ostrich feather plumes being used for ornamentation, I thoroughly respect that, but please appreciate the fact that this object was created before either you or I were born, in a less enlightened time when it came to the wellbeing and care of our precious animals. The Victorians and Edwardians were very big on catching and displaying animals, be it taxidermy for educational purposes such as those that featured in the first modern museums created in the Victorian era, the big game hunters who sought lions and other exotic animals for their horns, tusks and hides to display, or for Victorian and Edwardian consumerism such as this fan. Four hundred tons of South African ostrich feathers were brought through St Katherine’s Dock in just one year alone, and at a value of four million pounds, were all used for women’s headdresses, hats and fans.



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  • Published 05.17.22
  • Resolution 1024x768
  • Image type jpg
  • File Size 332091 byte.

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