Regency Fans

Regency Fans


Fans date as far back in history as conversation. Originally fans were intended as fire and candlelight shields to protect chapesses’ fine skin from burns and enlarged pores. Fans were often richly carved bejewelled works of art but Ladies and Princesses in Royal courts quickly saw the advantage in using fans to shield their secret conversations from prying eyes, and fire shields quickly became a vital accoutrement for all Dandizettes.

Pamela Anderson, Daniel Lismore and Tyne O'Connell

Pamela Anderson, Tyne O’Connell and Daniel Lismore at the opening night of The WInter’s Tale opera at the ENO in London 2017

In Warmer countries the same association was made between fans which were used to cool down yet doubled as secrecy shields.

By the 1600’s a sophisticated and elaborate secret language of fans took salons and royal courts by storm .

I say we need to bring back the lost language of fans for situations such as fashion shows and gallery openings. One doesn’t always care to broadcast every utterance or opinion.

In a world of social media and government busybodies tapping into every crevice of our lives – privacy is the new currency… for those who say “what have I to fear if I have nothing to hide?” I say, “jolly well mind your own business.” Besides secrets are such fun! Let’s celebrate the old fashioned lost art of secrets…. and rediscover the lost language of fans.

Secrets – like tea & champagne – fuel society and whispering in public is a breach of etiquette. So how is one to equip oneself with the essential information about friends and acquaintances and the newest name in millinery without sharing secrets?

Enter the Regency Secret Shield, the accoutrement for every Dandizette and Dandy, enabling us uphold form, while sharing tit-bits & chit-chat about fellow guests at tea-salons and balls.

tyne o'connell with a regency fan

Safely shielded by our exquisitely handcrafted secrecy shields all can be revealed from news of the latest seamstress or milliner on Bond St, to the latest portrait artist in a Jermyn St garret or glove maker in the Burlington Arcade.

Regency fans are both shield and weapon. Observing two Duchesses tiaras bobbing above their conversational shields at a ball could chill the blood of any and everyone present…for we all have secrets, or like to imagine we do.

tyne o'connell with regency fan daniel lismore

A pair of Regency Fans, behind which one can share the naughtiest of secrets – Regency Fans always came in pairs for just such occasions. Women everywhere know the fan is an essential accoutrement for any and all occasions. Whether to shield our skin from candelabras and fireplaces as they did in the Royal courts of medieval Europe ladies swiftly saw their use as conversational shields, behind which they could create a party of their own.

Contemporary artisan Olivier Bernoux creates exquisitely crafted fans – for he sees how a fan, can make or break a look…certainly one is not fully “turned out” sans fan!