News & Insights

Wallis Simpson’s Ostrich Feather Fan Comes to Auction

26th November 2018.

Two Private Collections of Antique Fans from the 18th to the early 20th century are coming up for sale at Tennants Auctioneers in North Yorkshire, in The Fan Sale on 7th December. With rare subjects, strong provenance and fine examples, they are set to cause a stir amongst collectors.

Fans made in homage to the Royal Family are much in evidence in the sale, but sure to attract attention is an extravagant 1920s ostrich feather fan which once belonged to Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor (estimate: £250-500 plus buyer’s premium). Made from pale yellow ostrich feathers and pale grey marabou feathers on a tortoiseshell handle, the fan comes with provenance from the sale of the belongings of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at Sotheby’s New York in 1997.

Also with royal connections, is a circa 1880 fan made by Alexandre of Paris, which is believed to have belonged to the Infanta Maria de la Paz (1862-1948), daughter of Queen Isabella II of Spain. The Infanta married her first cousin, Prince Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria, and the couple lived at the Nymphenburg Palace outside Munich. On one side of the fan is a charming scene depicting a wealthy couple taking tea in a garden, with the snoozing gentleman being tickled by young ladies, and the reverse of the fan is painted with a coronet and inscribed ‘PAZ’ (estimate: £1,000-3,000).

Collectors of fans are always on the lookout for examples with rare subject matter, and one of the highlights of the sale is sure to capture their interest – a fan from circa 1750 depicting pilgrims (estimate: £2,500-5,000 plus buyer’s premium). Ladies, gentlemen, monks and clerics are pictured on the road to Santiago de Compostela on route to visit the shrine of St James the Greater.

The sale will be available to view online, nearer the sale.

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