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Unfolding Pictures: Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation Fan, 1937

Thursday, May 5, 2011

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Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Fan
Ostrich Feathers, Tortoiseshell, gold, diamonds
English, 1937
The Royal Collection
The art of creating large and elegant fans from ostrich feathers reached a pinnacle in the mid Nineteenth Century. Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, had always admired these antique fans. For the 1937 coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Worshipful Company of Fan-makers banded together to create a special gift for their new queen. As was tradition, they sought to make the fan entirely from materials native to Great Britain.


The result is this magnificent fan of ostrich feathers with blond tortoiseshell guards and sticks. Made in the style of the mid-Nineteenth Century, the fan is the work of Charles Beale Gunner of the Worshipful Company of Fan-makers who included a crowned “Double E” cipher in gold (supplied by R. & S. Garrard & Co.) on the front guard.

Before it was presented to the future Queen, the fan was displayed for all to see—along with many of the other coronation gifts. The Queen Mother never really used the fan. For this reason, it’s in remarkably good condition, retaining its original box.

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