Pleated Fan (France), 1793–1803
This is a Pleated fan. It is dated 1793–1803 and we acquired it in 1960. Its medium is paper leaf with hand-colored engraving embroidered with metallic spangles, incised bone sticks with applied metallic foil. It is a part of the Textiles department.
The desire to build a transoceanic canal through Nicaragua has endured for centuries. In 1791, a Frenchman, Martin de la Bastide, published a treatise urging the King of Spain to construct a canal through Central America by way of Nicaragua. The proposed canal took advantage of the Rio San Juan, a river on the Caribbean Sea connected to Lake Nicaragua. In the mid-nineteenth century, prior to construction of the Panama Canal, Cornelius Vanderbilt ran a transit company that brought travelers from the eastern United States to California. He used paddleboats and stagecoaches to make the journey across Nicaragua to the Pacific coast. This late eighteenth century fan by J. LeRoy uses the allegorical figures of the four continents to promote the commercial importance of the project. They listen attentively to Mercury, the god of commerce, who points his staff in the direction of Nicaragua’s Pacific coast and future prosperity.
Its dimensions are
H x W (open): 27.6 x 48.3 cm (10 7/8 x 19 in.)
It is signed
On guard, at left: J. LeRoy
Cite this object as
Pleated Fan (France), 1793–1803; paper leaf with hand-colored engraving embroidered with metallic spangles, incised bone sticks with applied metallic foil; H x W (open): 27.6 x 48.3 cm (10 7/8 x 19 in.); Gift of the Estate of James Hazen Hyde; 1960-1-87