For centuries, fans were popular with men and women alike, not only as fashion accessories, but also as objects of simple, daily use. Fans were part of everyday life and in no way regarded as works of art. In the second half of the nineteenth century, fans began to go out of fashion for daily use, with production and sales figures declining. But in that same time art historians became interested in the role fans played in the history of applied art. Leading museums and institutes in and outside the Netherlands started to include fans in their collections. Interest in fans grew among private persons too; many people began to value fans as collector’s items.
This collection contains 145 beautifully decorated fans dating back to the 17th, 18th and 19th century. All of them are the responsibility of Amsterdam’s Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap, which received the Felix Tal collection from the municipality of Velsen in the province of North Holland.