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The Necker Fan

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The Necker Fan


Unknown (maker)


Messel-Rosse Collection




folding fan


Double paper leaf, printed in black, painted in water-colours and gilt. Ivory sticks and guards (14+2). Brass rivet. Front: In the centre, within a laurel wreath, a bust portrait of 'MR NEKER' resting on a pedestal inscribed 'Son zelr vertueux que respecte l envie/Ramene l'abondance et la felicite'Precieux a l etat son modeste genie/Marche sans le savour a l immortalite/ le Berainville'. The portrait is supported on the left by a figure representing France with an owl and a cornucopia of coins at her feet, and on the right by an angel holding a crown of stars over the portrait. On the left, a kneeling Queen extends her arms towards Necker, accompanied by a putto carrying a basket of flaming hearts. On the right, Hope, seated with her anchor, points towards a ship. Borders of alternating Vs and dots in pink and gold. Reverse: Three verses entitled 'Air Un Soldat par un coup funeste'. Sticks and guards: Undecorated.

Production Notes

Jacques Necker (1732-1804), French statesman and director general of finances during the reign of Louis XVI.

Production Place

France, (maker) (country)

French (maker) (nationality)

Technique Description

Double paper leaf, printed in black, painted in water-colours and gilt. Ivory sticks and guards (14+2). Brass rivet.


length: (guards): 27.7 cm


4th quarter 18th century
Louis XVI


circa 1789


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. Hamlett, Lydia (2007) From Reason to Revolution, Art and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Cambridge (Cambs.): The Fitzwilliam Museum
    [comments: Ref. for exhibition; not illustrated or discussed]

Other Notes

The French financier and statesman Jacques Necker (1732-1804) was appointed, by King Louis XVI, as director general of finances in 1777. Between 1781-87 he was out of office, but was recalled in 1788 because the state was virtually bankrupt. The unsuccessful social and constitutional reforms he proposed to the National Assembly, in 1789, made him unpopular at court and resulted in his dismissal. He was recalled in 1789, but resigned again in 1790 and retired to his estate in Coppet, Switzerland.

Accession Number

M.337-1985 (Applied Arts)
(Reference Number: 117922; Input Date: 2004-12-07 / Last Edit: 2011-05-03)

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