This fan is one of almost 50 fans collected at Ickworth by Geraldine, Marchioness of Bristol. They remain one of the largest collections of fans in a Country House. There was once a clever “language of fans” which allowed women to communicate with men without breaking strict rules of behaviour and etiquette. For example, drawing a fan across your cheek means ‘I love you’.
Fan. Leaf of paper painted with a scene, possibly biblical. Ivory sticks, carved and fretted, overlaid with silver. Guard stick with fretted silver design of head in wreath and a mask on a pedestal. Reverse with landscape and figure. Probably a bridal fan. Northern European. Label 'Marchioness of Bristol. Bought in London. Given by Mary Hervey'.
Part of the Bristol Collection. Acquired by the National Trust in 1956 under the auspices of the National Land Fund, later the National Heritage Memorial Fund