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Expulsion of Heliodorus Fan

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Expulsion of Heliodorus Fan


Unknown (maker)

Solimena, Francesco after [ULAN info: Italian artist, 1657-1747]


Messel-Rosse Collection




folding fan




Single leaf of vellum, painted in bodycolour and gilt. Mother-pearl sticks, pierced, carved, engraved, silvered and gilt; guards carved in low relief, silvered and gilt (21+2). Gilt brass? (not steel) rivet. Front: Painted overall with the 'Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple' after the fresco by Francesco Solimena (1657-1747) in the Gesu Nuovo, Naples, signed 1725; bordered by flowers, foliage, birds and scrolls. Reverse: In the middle, a floral spray in shades of pink, blue, purple and green. Borders of scrolls and flowers in similar colours. Sticks: The meeting beween Alexander and the wife of Darius, surrounded by scrolls and foliage, and flanked by a military trophy and a still life of a vase, a bird perching on a basket, backed by iridescent shell. The scrolls are overlaid by gold foil and above there is a narrow border of bound laurel in silver and gold foil. Below the scene, there is a row of silver and gold flowerheads and leaves. Guards: Below the shoulder there are scrolls and two doves flying over a basket; above the shoulder, two vases, scrolls, flowers, a classical figure holding a spear and a seated putto. Sticks and guards are of a later date.

Production Place

Italy (maker) (country)

Italian (maker) (nationality)

Technique Description

Single leaf of vellum, painted in gouache and gilt. Mother-pearl sticks, pierced, carved, engraved, silvered and gilt; guards carved in low relief, silvered and gilt (21+2). Gilt brass? (not steel) rivet.


length: (guards): 30.8 cm


2nd quarter 18th Century


circa 1730


bought: Anne, Countess of Rosse 1985-01-28 (Filtered for: Applied Arts collection)

Colonel Leonard C. Messel (1872-1953); his daughter Anne, Countess of Rosse (1902-1992)

Purchased with a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and a gift from The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum


  1. Armstrong, Nancy (1985) Fans from the Fitzwilliam. A Selection from the Messel-Rosse Collection, Cambridge (Cambs.): Fitzwilliam Museum Enterprises Ltd [page: pl. 12]
    [comments: Publ.]
  2. Gostelow, Mary (1976) The Fan, Dublin: Gill and Macmillan [page: 67] 1976)
    [comments: Publ., p. 67, col. pl. 6]

Other Notes

Accession Number

M.297-1985 (Applied Arts)
(Reference Number: 117882; Input Date: 2004-12-07 / Last Edit: 2011-05-27)

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