Category Archives: fans

How to Keep Cool: 1860-1902

Figures on the Beach at Trouville, 1885 http://collections.lacma.org/node/172791

Figures on the Beach at Trouville, 1885 http://collections.lacma.org/node/172791

The weather has been so beastly hot this week that Mrs Daffodil thought her readers would appreciate some cooling suggestions.

Here are a few sensible health hints for ladies at the seashore or in the country:

Read the latest books

Bathe early and often.

Seek cool, shady nooks

Throw fancy work away.

Wear lightest, lowest shoes.

Let hats be light and bonnets airy.

Eschew kid gloves and linen collars.

Dress in cambrics, lawns, and ginghams.

Be lavish with laundresses, fruit men and fans.

Let melons precede and berries follow, the breakfast.

Remember that seeming idleness is sometimes gain.

Order freshest fish and corn cake; never mind the heavy fritters.

Do not tell your hostess how sweet the butter and cream were at your last summer’s boarding house.

Omaha [NE] World Herald 17 August 1891: p. 3

A wealth of hints may be found for home, table, or garden:

The Canton girls buy their shoes two sizes too large, utilizing the vacant space as a refrigerator for packing ice around their feet. In this way they have become successful competitors of the Chicago Belles in their world-wide reputation for having considerable in the line of feet or understanding. [Chicago women were reputed to have the largest feet in America.] This is a novel way of keeping cool, however. The Canton [SD] Advocate 7 July 1887: p. 4

ICE CONCEITS FOR THE TABLE

Great blocks of ice may be hollowed out with a hot flat-iron, and are useful on the summer table; in these glittering ice-wells are sunk crisp leaves of lettuce and scarlet tomatoes peeled; they are served from this inviting receptacle and over them is poured luscious dressing a la mayonnaise. Strawberries, cherries, or any kind of fruit look lovely held in a block of ice. Lobster or fish in mayonnaise may be served in the same manner.

Instead of the paper-flowers in which ices are frequently served, natural ones may be substituted. The inner petals are plucked from a fragrant rose, and pistachio or strawberry cream placed in the centre, the stem must be cut off just below the calyx, and the flower made to stand securely in a small, round pasteboard box, which is not perceptible; any other suitable flower may be substituted.

Godey’s Magazine, 1896

Much has been done of late by the use of ice-wrung cloths over the windows. A yard or two of blind calico, made ice cold by wrapping it around a block of ice for five minutes, is hung up over the open windows and the blinds let down behind it, so that the warm air from the street or from the garden may be cooled insidiously as it enters. Cool rooms are also possible if a sufficiency of ice is provided. Baskets of all shapes and sizes, lined with tin, make excellent receptacles and these, placed close to the table when reading or working, or used instead of a center piece of flowers where the dinner table is concerned, will do much to freshen the air. In the hall or passage a tub, furnished with a large block of ice, will last a whole day, and possibly longer, if placed on a square of blanketing, while, to economize, all the ice left in the house by evening may be collected and wrapped in bags of thick felt.”

Evening Star [Washington, DC] 23 August 1908: p. 41

A new Parisian invention is an iron water pipe, running up the sides of those trees In public gardens which require plentiful showers In summer. In this way a fountain can be turned over them at any moment.

Religio-philosophical Journal September 1866

Some authorities recommended alcoholic stimulants for summer refreshment:

A COOL AND REFRESHING SUMMER DRINK

From the receipt book of a Western member of Congress.

The following is said to make a pleasant beverage: Take one pint of whiskey, stir in one spoonful of whiskey; add one pint of whiskey and beat well with a spoon.

Take one gallon of water and let a servant carry it away beyond your reach; then put two spoonfuls of water in a tumbler, immediately throw it out and fill with whiskey. Flavor with whiskey to suit your taste.

When it is to be kept long in warm climates, add sufficient spirit to prevent souring.

The Alleghenian [Ebensburg, PA] 9 August 1860: p. 1

The other day a teacher in a Boston school showed a little girl a picture of a fan and asked her what it was. The little girl didn’t appear to know.

“What does your mother do to keep cool in hot weather? Asked the teacher.

“Drink beer,” was the prompt reply of the little girl.

New York [NY] Tribune 28 February 1889: p. 9

Mrs  Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Victorian and Edwardian newspapers were chock-a-block full of suggestions for how to keep cool in the summers before central air-conditioning. However, there were some who believed that “mind over matter” would serve as well as a block of ice and a fan.

HOW TO KEEP COOL.

Don’t walk too fast;

Don’t fume and fret;

Don’t vow ‘twill be

Much hotter yet;

Don’t eat too much;

Don’t drink at all

Of things composed

Of alcohol.

Don’t read about

The sunstruck folks;

Don’t read the old

Hot weather jokes;

Don’t work too hard;

Don’t try to see

The rising of

The mercury.

Don’t fan yourself;

Don’t think you’re hot;

Just cool off with

“I think I’m not.”

And, more than that,

Don’t read a rule

Beneath this head—

‘How to Keep Cool.”

Baltimore American.

Mexico Missouri Message 7 August 1902: p. 8

 

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

Encore: Choose Your Fan and Then Your Flutter: 1919

fans2

American Girls Reviving the Fan, That Fit Symbol of Fluttering Femininity

Approach of Period of Coquetry Foreseen in New Popularity of Long Fashionable Appendage

By Esther Harney

Fans are coming back into vogue again. They never go out of fashion, of course, for they are as old as coquetry, as gallantry itself. But today they are appearing in full blaze of glory, a sure sign, we are told, that an age of coquetry and extreme femininity is approaching as a reaction from the stern period of the war.

Manufacturers will tell you this news happily. Not for years have they had so many orders for fans of every description from the hand-made lace and tortoise shell varieties of the duchess to the little inexpensive chiffon spangled fan which the high school girls “perfectly adore” to flutter at school “hops.”

Manufacturers will also tell you that there could be no stronger evidence of a general return on the part of woman to her ancient arts and wiles than this reinstatement of the fan. (They are qualified to speak—of course.) During the war there was little time for fans and for femininity. Nor in that period which preceded the war did woman fancy fans; instead she preferred a riding crop or a tennis bat. It was not the fashion then, you will recall, to be delicate and feminine.

But today with all our boys returning from overseas from harsh scenes of war and from other scenes and adventures (oh, the reputed wiles of les belles Francaises), American women are beginning to realize that they must rise to the occasion. Femininity must rule supreme. (The soldiers like womanly women, they say.) and as a symbol of lovely femininity the women have taken up the fan.

International Imagination.

Then, too, American girls are looking to France these days. (They are trying to cultivate an international imagination, you know.) And among the French, fans are popular. With them, for instance, the wedding fan is an important item of the marriage trousseau. And was it not Mme. E Stael who recognized an art in the graceful handling of the fan? “What graces,” she wrote, “are placed in woman’s power if she knows how to use  a fan. In all her wardrobe there is no ornament with which she can produce so great an effect.” Verily the revival of the fan in American can be traced to the influence of France on the American doughboy…

Descended from Palm Leaf.

All ages have contributed to the history of the fan. It has it pedigree like everything else. If a thorn was the first needle, no doubt a palm leaf was the first fan. Standards of rich plumage were present when the Queen of Sheba paid homage to Solomon. Queen Elizabeth gave the fan a place of distinction and was the cause of prosperity among the fan-makers of her day. She is said to have had as many as 30 fans for her use. During her reign ostrich feather fans were introduced in England. Charlotte Corday of French evolutionary fame is said to have used a fan expertly : She held a fan in one hand while she stabbed Marat with a dagger which she held in the other hand.

Great painters of all ages have tried their hands at fans. One famous artist spent nine years completing a fan for Mme. De Pompadour, which cost $30,000. Period fans arose to commemorate events, follies and fashions of the day. Besides an intermediary in the affairs of love a fan became a vehicle for satire, verse and epigram.  

Coronation of Napoleon fan, 1807 http://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/117894

Coronation of Napoleon fan, 1807 http://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/117894

In the canons of “fanology” are described “the angry flutter, the modish flutter, the timorous flutter, the confused flutter, the merry flutter, the amorous flutter.” A flutter for every type, you see.

American girls should then first choose their fan and then their flutter. Perhaps they will revive the art of miniature fan painting as a new profession for women. They should, of course, remember that they can learn much of the art of the fan from Europe (except from Germany. Can you fancy a German woman flirting with a fan?) and plan to obtain their practice on the back porch some hot July evening. That will surely amuse their soldier callers. And at least we all can afford a fan of the palm leaf variety. But if we must take up the fan, the symbol of the new age that is before us, just we also take up the spirit of the age in which it was wafted victoriously? Must we be Victorian?

Boston [MA] Herald 10 May 1919: p. 15 

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  And what, Mrs Daffodil wishes to know, is wrong with being “Victorian?” Alas, the author of this piece was entirely too sanguine about a return to femininity. Far from becoming more womanly, young persons shingled their hair, abandoned proper corsetry, smoked in public, and adopted sexually ambiguous costumes and attitudes. The queenly curves of the pre-War years gave way to a flattened feminine figure that caused many physicians to despair of the continuation of the species. Still, in one detail, the author was correct: The beaded and brilliantined females who thronged the night clubs, did carry fans—immense, vampish affairs of ostrich feathers or sequined chiffon–but recognizably fans. One might suggest that these accessories lent their name to the Girl of the Period: the Flapper.

For a school of “fan-ology,” see this post.  And for more details on how to select a fan, this post.

A vampish fan of the period.

A vampish fan of the period.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

Peacocks and Opals: Fashion Trumps Superstition: 1917

SUPERSTITION IS PUT DOWN AND OUT BY FASHION

Margaret Mason

Superstitious Susie is a creature of the past

Now sensible Suzanna doesn’t even look aghast

When she walks beneath a ladder, opals cause her no alarm

And she even breaks a mirror with no thought of future harm.

New York, Dec. 28. Fashion certainly is all powerful since it can even overcome superstition and down it without a struggle.

Poor but sensible relations who couldn’t afford to be superstitious have reveled for years in opal rings, scarf pins, brooches, earrings and even necklaces cast off shudderingly by temperamental and hysterical daughters and sons of the rich who were just sure opals brought bad luck, dire calamity and everything else dreadful and devastating. But poor relations will revel no longer.

Just now Madame la Mode is pleased to cast anything but black glances on black opals and in consequence their erstwhile supposedly evil blight is quite ignored by fickle and fashionable females and the flashing hues of the black opals scintillate on their swan like throats some of them are more like pouter pigeons on their heaving and offtimes ample bosoms, on their lily and taper digits and dangle from their shell-like aural appendages. Smugly content in the consciousness that they are smartly jeweled, they wear the opals without a shudder and as yet the list of casualties attendant upon such a desperate act has been slight.

Peacock a Jinx.

Just why the blight of superstition should ever have rested on the gorgeous feathers of the peacock, that favored fowl of Juno and long the very trademark of vanity, is a deep dark peacock blue mystery. This season sees the ban on peacock feathers lifted however, as the fan of peacock feathers is unfurled. These fetching feather fans either mounted on jeweled and hand carved ivory handles or of the open and shut variety with tortoise shell or ivory sticks are the very acme of feather fan fashions for the fair.

Peacock feathers also wave triumphant from jeweled evening hair bandeaus or from the smart street turbans of metallic brocade and replicas of the entire bird gleam in wicked iridescence form the fascinating surfaces of the ubiquitous beaded bags.

In the face of such fickle shifting from superstition at fashions call, it would be foolish to still cling to other superstitions equally as innocuous. Why not banish the whole musty, medieval lot since Madame La Mode has bravely blazed the trail.

Most of the up-to-date maids and matrons have indeed adopted this logic for their own and ladders are now passed under dauntlessly by opaled and peacocky ladies. They turn back home to get something they have forgotten and leave again by the same door. They begin a new piece of knitting on Friday or Saturday without a qualm and even start journeying on a fateful Friday. The thirteenth of the month has become a prime favorite as a wedding or an entertaining date and milady now cracks or breaks her vanity mirror with as little compunction as she does a masculine heart.

May Turn out Bad.

If that side of her profile happens to be the best Miss 1917 looks over her perfect left shoulder at the new moon with airy nonchalance even though the resultant good luck of landing her escort sometimes turn out to be bad luck.

So you see when Fashion turns against superstition, superstition might just as well get out of the fashionable picture without any to-do or fuss about it.

There’s just only one little weeny superstition that still continues to get by with it. That’s the one of picking up pins. No matter how tight her corsets or skirts no woman will fail to live up to the couplet.

“See a pin and pick it up

All the day you’ll have good luck.

See a pin and let it lay

Then you luck will fly away.”

Especially if it be a black headed pin because of course you can’t buy them any more during these war times. So there we are again back to the same old reason that you can’t get away from no matter what you start out to write about. Even this measly little picking up pins superstition that still sticks in spite of fashion’s ban is directly traceable to the great all-blamable reason: “on account of the war.”

Evening News [San Jose, CA] 28 December 1917: p. 8

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Friday the Thirteenth seems the perfect time to address the question of fashionable superstitions. Opals were once believed to be dreadfully unlucky, except to those persons fortunate enough to be born with them as their birthstone. Mrs Daffodil has written before about a very unlucky royal opal and about lucky charms for Friday the Thirteenth.

Peacock feathers, despite their picturesque appeal to the Arts & Crafts movement and to Lady Curzon, who incorporated them in her Durbar dress, have often been considered a hoodoo by homemakers and theatrical people. Folklorists say that this is because they resemble the “evil eye.” Some also suggest that the call of the peacock resembles the ill-omened shriek of the banshee.

HOODOO OF FEATHERS

Superstitious playgoers will learn with horror that peacocks’ feathers are to form the basis of costumes in the long-delayed production of M. Rostand’s “Chanticleer.”  Few English actors would be bold enough to wear these ill-omened feathers. In 1890 a procession of gods and goddesses was shown on the stage at Drury Lane, and, although Juno appeared with her peacock at the first rehearsal before the play was produced the company persuaded the author to cut the bird out of the cast in order to avoid the bad luck which it would certainly bring. On the opening night of the present Prince of Wales’s Theater several people were taken ill, and this was attributed by many to the fact that the stalls were ornamented with a design of peacock’s feathers. The manager went to the expense of recovering the whole of the stalls with a less unlucky pattern. Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 8 January 1910: p. 15

Mrs Daffodil has been unable to ascertain how peacock feathers suddenly became bad luck, for, as this next article says, one moment the feathers were in fashion; the next, anathema. Perhaps the peacocks, such a prominent feature of aristocratic landscapes, had an effective lobbyist working on their behalf.

Ominous Peacock Plumes.

You remember, do you not, how all of the ladies used to admire peacock feathers? Every boudoir contained a bunch of them; every parlor was made richer by their gorgeous tints. They were even used now and then as a border to a frieze, and they were fastened on screens, painted on plaques, pinned on curtains, and embroidered on chairs. But now, go where you will, you will see no peacock feathers. They have been banished from hall and bower. Why? Because it has been decided that they bring bad luck. Even fashion couldn’t stand against that. They had to go. The news spread rapidly, and every lady, sitting down to reckon up the beginning of her bad luck, concluded that it was when she bought her peacock feathers. The ladies of the Woodruff hotel held a meeting and decided to banish these ominous plumes. So they all went. All along the avenues the ladies followed their example. The servants caught the infection and refused to stay in a house where the exquisite but fateful feathers were kept. So the comfort and peace of mind of the vainest of birds is restored, for he will be molested no more. Chicago Tribune. Hyde Park Herald [Chicago, IL] 2 December 1887: p. 7

One gentleman set out to prove the folly of this superstition, but alas….

A year or two ago, Daniel Hodnot of Long Branch, brother-in-law of the late Daniel Liddy, brought home from Europe a screen made of Peacock feathers. He told his wife of the prevailing superstition and said they would disprove the commonly received notion. She said the superstition did not disturb her. Since then Mr. Hodnot’s house has several times marvelously escaped destruction by fire; a valuable dog of his died without apparent cause; burglars have entered the place and stolen valuables, and both Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hodnot have died. Finally there was a lawsuit to contest Mr. Liddy’s will. In the neighborhood of Long Branch Peacock feathers are now no more popular than before the test was made.  Ornithologist and Oölogist, Volumes 17-18, 1892

 

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

 

 

A Lure In Fans: 1912

THERE IS A LURE IN FANS

But a New York Woman Says They Must Be Used Rightly.

“Women who have traveled a good deal know best how to use the fan,” said the young woman. She had just returned from looking at a private collection of fans which in conjunction with other art objects belonging to the same owner was to be sold at auction the next day. In this, her line, this young woman was thoroughly informed. She could be trusted to lay in a stock of fans which would delight Fifth Avenue and the clientele which helps support Fifth Avenue stores, and, moreover, she knew how to appraise to a nicety the kind of customer suitable for a certain make of fan. No haphazard matching of fan and woman for her.

“New York women are learning that to carry a 50-cent fan when wearing a $300 gown is almost laughable,” she explained. “It is not so very long though since they found this out.”

Jules de Ban court presentation gown for Lucile, c. 1923. http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O699496/fashion-design-jules-de-ban/

Jules de Ban court presentation gown for Lucile, c. 1923. http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O699496/fashion-design-jules-de-ban/

  THE FINE POINTS IN FANS.

The young woman expert referred to paid a compliment when she said that New York women were learning to know a fine fan and the artistic possibilities it suggests.
“One need only to go to the opera,” she said, “to see that. And, as I said before, women who have traveled get onto these fine points sooner. Of course there are New York women who think of a fan merely as a fan and probably they will always be like that. Take a Spanish or an Italian or a French woman and she is apt to think of a fan in almost any other way than as a fan.

“One day, for instance, two young women asked to see very large ostrich feather fans, which by the way have been one of the most taking designs of the winter. One was tall and athletic looking, the other petite with a Japanese cast of features. I encouraged the tall one all I could to buy the $100 huge white feather fan she admired, for she could manage it splendidly. She had a masterly way with her which showed that she could handle the thing to the best advantage. But the little one looked dwarfed with a fan like that.

SETTING THE STYLE TO INDIVIDUALS.

“’What you want,’ I told her, ‘is one of these painted French fans to agree with your chic style.’ I would have recommended a small fan of Oriental coloring but that the painted French fan was handsomer and more what she wanted.

“One of my customers the other day was a graceful woman of the brunette type who has languid Spanish eyes. ‘A lace fan by all means,’ I advised, when she hesitated between one of gauze decorated with gold and silver and somewhat larger one of point lace mounted on those wide pearl sticks indicative of Austrian workmanship. ‘I am sure that you can manage a fan like that as well as a Spanish woman and it is just your style.’ She laughed, and chose the lace, saying, demurely, ‘I have been told that I can manage a fan very well.’

THE CONTRAST IN THEM.

“Now that woman knew something about the use of a fan.

“So did a young woman with a saucy turned up nose and the bright glancing type of brown eyes which are not at all common, who told me: ‘I’m just crazy to have one of those big feather fans, but I don’t think it suits my style.’ No more did it and I was glad that she chose an 8-inch spangled fan of variegated color. That she will use that to some purpose I am pretty sure.”
Nothing could be funnier, the saleswoman agreed, than the contrast afforded by the 25-inch and the 30-inch feather fans and the 5-inch and 6-inch pompadour fans of spangled gauze and many different colors which are among the most coquettish and novel of the latest varieties, unless indeed it is the flower fans which are just coming in again and promise all sort of novelties.

The tiny spangled affairs are attached to a chatelaine chain, and, according to an authority they are intended more for ornament and as an aid to flirtation than for real use.

Kansas City [MO] Star 5 March 1912: p. 16

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: “Women who have travelled a good deal,” “handle the thing to the best advantage,” “knew something about the use of a fan,” “will use that to some purpose.” Here the language of the fan seems riddled with sinister euphemisms for either seduction or murder. One is not quite sure which….

The “new” pompadour and flower fans were actually described two years earlier. The photograph above shows one of these bijoux creations.

Fan Novelty

The new fans are all quite short, most of them not larger than seven or eight inches. Many are of moiré, closely spangled, with handsome chased gold, ivory or tortoise shell sticks. Spangled gauze is also much seen on these modified empire fans. One of the novelties of the season is a fan that when closed shows masses of flowers at the top of sticks to resemble a small bouquet. When opened the fan is closely covered with flower petals of tiny flowers and foliage so that none of the silk background shows. Roses are the favorite for the floral fan, but carnations, orchids, iris and poppies are also seen.

Baxter Springs [KS] News 13 January 1910: p. 3

Previous posts on fans have included society ladies’ historic fans, the fan revival after the Great War, and a “Fan Academy,” to teach ladies to manage their fans. There is also an article on the Princess Royal’s wedding fan and a strange costume version of it worn by a child actress.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

 

An Academy For the Training Up of Young Women in the Exercise of the Fan: 1761

Lady with a Fan, Alexander Roslin, 1768

Lady with a Fan, Alexander Roslin, 1768

I do not know whether to call the following letter a satire upon coquettes, or a representation of their several fantastical accomplishments, or what other title to give it; but as it is I shall communicate it to the publick. It will sufficiently explain its own intention, so that I shall give it to my reader at length, without either preface or postscript.

Mr. Spectator,

Women are armed with fans as men with swords, and sometimes do more execution with them. To the end therefore that ladies may be intire mistresses of the weapon which they bear, I have erected an academy for the training up of young women in the Exercise of the Fan, according to the most fashionable airs and motions that are not practiced at court. The ladies who carry fans under me are drawn up twice a-day in my great hall, where they are instructed in the use of their arms, and exercised by the following words of command.

Handle your fans,

Unfurl your fans,

Discharge your fans,

Ground your fans

Recover your fans,

Flutter your fans.

By the right observations to these few plain words of command, a woman of tolerable genius, who will apply herself diligently to her exercise for the space of but one half-year, shall be able to give her fan all the graces that can possibly enter into that little modish machine.

But to the end that my readers may form to themselves a right notion of this Exercise, I beg leave to explain it to them in all its parts. When my female regiment is drawn up in array, with every one her weapon in her hand, upon my giving the word to handle their fans, each of them shakes her fan at me with a smile, then gives her right-hand woman  tap upon the shoulder, then presses her lips with the extremity of her fan, then lets her arms fall in an easy motion, and stands in a readiness to receive the next word of command. All this is done with a closed fan, and is generally learned in the first week.

The next motion is that of unfurling the fan, in which are comprehended several little flirts and vibrations, as also gradual and deliberate openings, with many voluntary fallings asunder in the fan itself, that are seldom learned under a month’s practice. This part of the Exercise pleases the spectators more than any other, as it discovers on a sudden an infinite number of Cupids, garlands, altars, birds, beasts, rainbows, and the like agreeable figures, that display themselves to view, whilst every one in the regiment holds a picture in her hand.

Upon my giving the word to discharge their fans, they give one general crack that may be heard at a considerable distance when the wind sits fair. This is one of the most difficult parts of the Exercise, but I have several ladies with me, who at their first entrance could not give a pop loud enough to be heard at the farther end of a room, who can now discharge a fan in such a manner, that it shall make a report like a pocket-pistol. I have likewise taken care (in order to hinder young women from letting off their fans in wrong places or unsuitable occasions) to shew upon what subject the crack of a fan may come in properly. I have likewise invented a fan, with which a girl of sixteen, by the help of a little wind which is inclosed about one of the largest sticks, can make as loud a crack as a woman of fifty with an ordinary fan.

When the fans are thus discharged, the word of command in course is to ground their fans. This teaches a lady to quit her fan gracefully when she throws it aside in order to take up a pack of cards, adjust a curl of hair, replace a falling pin, or apply herself to any other matter of importance. This part of the exercise, as it only consists in tossing a fan with an air upon a long table (which stands by for that purpose) may be learned in two days’ time as well as in a twelve-month.

When my female regiment is thus disarmed, I generally let them walk about the room for some time; when on a sudden (like ladies that look upon their watches after a long visit) they all of them haste to their arms, catch them up in a hurry, and place themselves in their proper stations upon my calling out, Recover your fans. This part of the exercise is not difficult, provided a woman applies her thoughts to it.

The Fluttering of the fan is the last, and indeed the master-piece of the whole exercise; but if a lady does not misspend her time, she may make herself mistress of it in three months. I generally lay aside the dog-days, and the hot time of the summer for the teaching this part of the exercise; for as soon as ever I pronounce Flutter your fans, the place is filled with so many zephyrs and gentle breezes, as are very refreshing in that season of the year, though they might be dangerous to ladies of a tender constitution in any other.

There is an infinite variety of motions to be made use of in the Flutter of a fan: There is the angry flutter, the modest flutter, the timorous flutter, the confused flutter, the merry flutter, and the amorous flutter. Not to be tedious, there is scarce any emotion of the mind which does not produce a suitable agitation in the fan; insomuch, that if I only see the fan of a disciplined lady, I know very well whether she laughs, frowns, or blushes. I have seen a fan so very angry, that it would have been dangerous for the absent lover who provoked it to have come within the wind of it; and at other times so very languishing, that I have been glad for the lady’s sake the lover was at a sufficient distance from it. I need not add, that a fan is either a prude or coquette, according to the nature of the person who bears it. To conclude my letter, I must acquaint you that I have from my own observations compiled a little treatise for the use of my scholars, intitled The passions of the fan; which I will communicate to you, if you think it may be of use to the publick. I shall have a general review on Thursday next; to which you shall be very welcome if you will honour it with your presence.

I am, &c.

P.S. I teach young gentlemen the whole art of gallanting a fan.

N.B. I have several little plain fans made for this purpose, to avoid expence.

The Spectator, No. 102, 27 June 1761

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil has previously posted on the 1919 revival of the fan here, which also addresses the various sorts of flutters and their effects. In this post, on some historic fans, she points out the fan’s potential as weapon. This post , with its whimsical illustration, tells of a young person fancifully dressed as the Princess Royal’s wedding fan.

The protocol outlined by the lady above was still in effect 120 years later:

A novel public entertainment was given in St. Louis a few nights ago for the benefit of one of the churches of that city. It was a “fan-drill” given by twelve beautiful young ladies thoroughly trained to the work, the object being to illustrate the uses of the fan as an interpreter of the various emotions. Elkhart [IN] Daily Review 27 January 1881: p. 2

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

 

The Princess Royal’s Wedding Fan: A Bit of Whimsy: 1922

 Some further inspiration for your Hallowe’en fancy dress.wedding fan

This is “Baby Grande,” said to be a child star of the London stage, but more likely a rather shop-soiled “child impersonator,” of which the ranks of the Halls were rife. She took a prize at a fancy dress contest for her costume as “The Royal Fan.”  It was a decided novelty, but perhaps not the most effective garb if one wishes to dance.

Wedding fans were a great tradition in the royal family. Queen Mary had over 500 fans in her personal collection, a great many of which were wedding gifts. (Others, no doubt, came to her via her patented technique of pointed admiration, followed up by a courtier’s visit to collect the coveted object.) 

Count and Countess of Harewood

The photo above shows what appears to be the fan in question, although it has not been found in the lists of the Princess Royal’s wedding gifts. It bears a strong resemblance to Her current Majesty’s coronation fan.  The guards appear to be tortoise-shell set with a monogram in diamonds.

The whimsy, one fears, stopped with the young person’s feathered fan costume.  

Mary, the Princess Royal, lived a very sheltered life, trammeled by the restrictions of her mother, Queen Mary.  According to what one hears, her brother, the Prince of Wales, was furious that his sister was being forced into an “arranged marriage” with a dour man 14 years her senior. While the papers made it out to be a love match, one account suggested that Lascelles proposed to the Princess on a bet from members of his club.

The marriage was not a happy one. The Prince of Wales promised his sister he would see that she was released from her marital shackles when he came to the throne. Alas, when he became entangled with that American woman, he could no longer help her. The Princess was not freed until 1947, when her husband died.

Mrs Daffodil wishes a quicker release for any of her readers burdened with an uncongenial spouse, but cautions that modern tests for arsenic and the alkaloid poisons are highly accurate and stand up well in court.  Mrs Daffodil also suggests that the unhappily yoked consult a solicitor for results that do not involve assisting the Police with their inquiries.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.