Prior to the advent of plastics, the natural world provided all the materials used to make fans. By the close of the Seventeenth Century a global trade in raw materials such as elephant tusks and turtle shells had developed. Whilst processing methods remained mostly unchanged, with the passing of time the techniques used to work and decorate fan materials were gradually perfected.VOICE AThe displays in this section juxtapose raw materials with finished articles and give a sense of the transformative process of fan making. Look first at section 6 which shows a range of fans crafted in mother of pearl and horn with examples of both materials in their unprocessed state.

To learn more about mother of pearl, press A.For Horn, press B.


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The Fan Museum

The Fan Museum is the UK's only organisation of its kind, devoted entirely to the subject of fans and craft of fan making. Housed in two beautifully restored Georgian period townhouses, its collections number more than 7,000 objects dating from the 12th century to present day.


  • London United Kingdom