Folding Fan with a Representation of the 1806 Eruption of Mount Vesuvius


Not on view

This dramatic nighttime scene captures Mount Vesuvius erupting: a volcanic flare of lurid orange over the midnight blues of the Bay of Naples. Inscriptions on the front and reverse of the fan identify it as the eruption of 1806, although scenes like this- evoking earlier eruptions- had been popular on souvenir fans since the 1760s. Also at The Met, for example, is an eighteenth-century watercolor design with a similar scene of the angry volcano (38.91.105). With its finely worked mother-of-pearl sticks and guards, inlaid with spangles, this would have been a high-end souvenir for an affluent Grand Tourist. In addition to the earlier fan design, other fans depicting Vesuvius erupting are in The Met's collection (63.90.26 and 63.90.73) as well as in the Victoria and Albert Museum; a further design showing Vesuvius epuring is in the British Museum.

Folding Fan with a Representation of the 1806 Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Paper, mother-of-pearl, spangles, Italian

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