Brisé Fan of Horn with Raised Gilt and Piqué Work

This small brisé fan (the sticks are only 6″ long) is probably French c1810-1820. It is made of very thin, almost transparent horn, decorated with raised gilt and polished steel piqué work.

It is much more beautiful in person, as it was difficult to photograph it showing the piqué work to its best advantage. All the little grayish-white circles are bright silver, and would have shimmered beautifully in candlelight.

The sticks of the fan have not been pierced, with the exception of the slits for the ribbon, but have been left intact to act as a blank canvas for the painted gilt and applied piqué work.

Piqué was a decorative technique made by inlaying tiny points or pins of gold or other polished metals in patterns upon various materials. It is often seen in brisé fans of the Regency, especially on tortoiseshell and horn. The tiny disks are inlaid into shallow recesses with glue. Typically, many of the piqué disks in fans have been lost, as opening and closing the fan would have dislodged them over time. This fan has most of its piqué disks intact, though some have darkened over time. In bright light, most of them sparkle.

The center of the fan shows a superb large basket of flowers, with raised gilt and piqué accents.

The guards are also decorated with piqué work around the edges, with gilt decoration echoing the floral pattern at the top of the sticks. The rivet is steel.


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