These shells were carefully gathered, categorised and catalogued over many years.
Each variety of shell is in its own tiny tin with a glazed lid to reveal the shells within; each tin has a little handwritten label on the back. This collection is now part of The Atkinson’s collection.
These fans were amassed by a collector who later donated them to The Atkinson.
The fans are a mixture of silk and paper. Some have wooden guards and sticks (the “skeleton” of the fan), and others are made of bone and even ivory.
Fans have been used for thousands and thousands of years, especially in hotter climates. Over the centuries, they have been used in ceremonies, dances, and social situations to send secret messages.
This one was produced to commemorate Nelson’s victory at the Battle of the Nile in 1798.
These were received as gifts and also collected over many years, and are a part of a huge collection, now held by The Atkinson.
You may recognise a certain marmalade-loving bear from darkest Peru!