Books About Fans

The fan collector today is fortunate in having a whole library of books available to consult. The choice can be confusing to the beginner, so below are listed selections of books under various headings, which should be helpful in guiding the reader.

A Suggested Core Fan Library.

These books are all readily available, relatively cheaply (for the price of an interesting, but not rare advertising fan), and provide good reliable information about the history, development, structure, and types of fans.

Alexander, Helene. Fans. Shire Publications. 2002. ISBN 0-7478-0402-8
Alexander, Helene. Fans. Batsford. 1984. ISBN. 0 7134 4276 X
Armstrong, Nancy. A Collector’s History of Fans. Studio Vista. 1974. ISBN 0 289 703948
Armstrong, Nancy. Fans. Souvenir Press. 1984. ISBN 0 285 62591 8 Reprinted In 1990 as a paperback. ISBN 0 285 62987 5
Armstrong, Nancy. The Book of Fans. Colour Library International. 1978. ISBN 0 904681 96 3 Some very useful information – but no index!
Gostelow, Mary. The Fan. Gill and Macmillan. 1976. ISBN 7171 0721 3
Green, Bertha de Vere. A Collector’s Guide to Fans over the Ages. Frederick Muller. 1975. ISBN 0 584 10101 5
Hart, Avril and Taylor, Emma. Fans. V&A Publications. 1998. ISBN 1851772138
Mackay, James. Fans – Ornaments of Language and Fashion. Parkgate Books. 2000. Nice pictures, but very inaccurate text.
Mayor, Susan. Collecting Fans. Studio Vista. 1980. ISBN 0 289 70881 8
Mayor, Susan. The Letts Guide to Collecting Fans. Charles Letts. 1991. ISBN 1-85238-128-0. An update of the previous title – but worth possessing both.
Payen-Appenzeller, Pascal. Fancy Fans. Parangon. 2000. ISBN 2-914199-13-9


A More Advanced Library.

The books listed above all cover general aspects of fans and fan collecting to varying degrees of depth. Sooner or later, however, the collector is going to require more information on specific aspects of the subject. The following books will provide help in specific areas.

Various. Fans from the East. Debrett/Vand A. 1978. ISBN 0 905649 22 2 Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the V&A, this book (also available in softback) , has chapters on Chinese Fans, Japanese Fans, Chinoiserie, and from India to the Philippines.
Alexander, Helene. Advertising Fans. The Fan Museum. N.d.
Collier, Ann. Lace Fans. Batsford. 2002. ISBN 0-7134-8734-8
Fendel, Cynthia. Celluloid Hand Fans. Hand Fan Productions. 2001. ISBN 0- 9708852-0-2
Fendel, Cynthia. Fans of Flight. The Airline Advertising Fan Catalogue. Dallas. 1999.
Green, Ruth. Fans in Society. Safra Publications. 1993. ISBN 0 9521141 0 0
Hutt, Julia and Alexander, Helene. Ogi. A History of the Japanese Fan. Dauphin Publishing. 1992. ISBN 1-872357-08 3
Irons, Neville John. Fans of Imperial China. Kaiserreich Kunst. 1982. ISBN 0 907918 00 X
Irons, Neville John. Fans of Imperial Japan. Kaiserreich Kunst. 1982. ISBN 0 907918 01 8
Malpas, Evelyn. Fragrance and Fans. Privately published. France. 1998
Melville, Beryl. The Fan and Lace. Lochlea Publications. 1991.
North, Audrey. Australia’s Fan Heritage. Boolarong Publications. 1985 ISBN 0 86439 001 7
Sica, Grazia Gobbi. Il Ventaglio Pubblicitario. Cantini. 1991.
Volet, Maryse. Imagination and its Contribution to Fans. Patents Deposited in France in the 19th Century. Geneva. 1986. ISBN 2-88226-002-4
Volet, Maryse. Patents for Fans Filed in France During the 20th Century. Geneva. 1992. ISBN 2-88226-003-2
Classics – but often Expensive!

Some of the early fan books are delights in themselves, even if our knowledge has rendered some of the information in some of them questionable. Amongst these volumes must be included:

Blondel, Spire. Histoire des Eventails chez tous les Peuples et a toutes les Epoques. Librairie Renovard. 1875.
Cust, Lionel. Catalogue of the Collection of Fans and Fan Leaves presented to the Trustees of the British Museum by the Lady Charlotte Schreiber. Longmans et al. 1893. A very useful reference source to the important Collection made by Charlotte Schreiber.
Flory, M.A. A Book about Fans: the History of Fans and Fan-Painting. Macmillan. 1895.
Percival, MacIver. The Fan Book. T. Fisher Unwin. 1920
Rhead, G. Woolliscroft. History of the Fan. Kegan Paul etc. 1910.
Salwey, Charlotte M. Fans of Japan. Kegan Paul etc. 1894.
Schreiber, Lady Charlotte. Fans and Fan Leaves: English. John Murray. 1888. 161 illustrations.
Schreiber, Lady Charlotte. Fans and Fan Leaves: Foreign. John Murray. 1890. 153 illustrations.
Uzanne, Octave. The Fan. J.C. Nimmo and Bain. 1884.
Walker, Robert. Catalogue of the Cabinet of Old Fans. Sotheby Wilkinson and Hodge. 1882.

Exhibition Catalogues.

Exhibition catalogues range from the simple to the very elaborate, and vary accordingly in price. Some of the books already listed were associated with exhibitions (such as “Fans from the East”), but many others are well worth acquiring if possible. These include:

European Fans – from Objet d’Art to Patented Invention. By Maryse Volet. 1994
Eventails, Collection du Musee d’art et d’histoire de Geneve. By Maryse Volet and Annette Beentjes. Editions Slatkine. 1987.
Fans from the Fitzwilliam. By Nancy Armstrong. Cambridge. 1985.
From Court to Confectionary. Privately published. 1994. By Peter Greenhalgh and Paul van Saanen.
Unfolding Beauty – the Art of the Fan. Anna Gray Bennett. The collection of Esther Oldham and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. 1988.
Ventagli della Collezione Cesari. Franco Maria Ricci. 1999.

The Fan Museum at Greenwich holds regularly changing exhibitions throughout the year, and catalogues are always issued in association with the exhibitions. These catalogues are also worth acquiring, though some are more fully illustrated than others.

Magazine Articles.

Articles about fans have appeared regularly over the years in a variety of publications. Some of these are worthless, others are of interest, and some are important, especially where they describe a particular fan or collection. Early volumes of The Connoisseur had many references to, and illustrations of fans.

Fan Circle International Library and Archive.

The FCI no longer holds a library and archive; The Fan Museum holds a comprehensive library of fan books and appointments to consult them can be made.