Collection: The Regency Wardrobe
Garment: Woman’s Fan
Materials: cartridge paper, watercolour ink, coloured paper, tracing paper, gold leaf, Mizuhiki rice paper chord, card, quilling paper strips
Size: Life size
This piece is inspired by a letter to Mr Richard Bevan from an unknown sender in the 1820s, held in the Bevan and Dewar collection at The Regency Town House, Hove.
As inspiration for this piece the letter, and thereby the fan, are imaginatively attributed to the figure of an elderly mother or aunt. The words seem to assure a young male relative of how secure this matriarch is in her knowledge of the constancy of his regard for her, and to recognize how busy she knows him to be. Arguably however, in between the lines, there is a sense of her lonely regret concerning the length of time between his letters, and a fragile undertone of fear that in fact he might gradually forget her.
This piece is also inspired by the idea of the ‘Language of Flowers’ and the symbolism thereby attributed to the forget-me-not. The craze for interpreting flowers reached its époque during the Victorian age when surely any bouquet spoke volumes. There is a list of emotions attributed to certain flowers on the wall at Worthing Museum.
However during the Regency period also, flowers certainly held symbolic meaning. In Christopher Smart's Jubilate Agno 1759 to 1763 there are the following lines:
"For the flowers have their angels...
For there is a language of flowers.
For there is a sound reasoning upon all flowers.
For elegant phrases are nothing but flowers.”
And in 1819 Charlotte de Latour published a book titled Le Langage des Fleurs.
Forget me not is beautifully presented in an acrylic display case: H 10cms, L 71cms, W 40cms with cream board around it, Mr Bevan's letter beneath it, a paper forget me not growing through it and a small bunch of forget me nots produced from quilling laying beside it.