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---------- Unfortunately our lift is currently out of order so access to the upper gallery is via stairs only. Apologies for any inconvenience caused ----------- The Orangery will be closed on Saturday 26th October. The Museum is open as normal. Click Here for Planned Closure Dates
Entrance to Greenwich Fan Museum

The Case of the Fan : An Exhibition of Fans with their Boxes

25th January - 26th June 2005

This exhibition of nearly 100 fans with their boxes or cases at The Fan Museum, Greenwich (25th January – 26th June) shows the importance of fans and their complexity from the 18th century to the present day.

Fan boxes and cases are like houses: They protect, are status symbol, can be abandoned or fall derelict, be restored or be the source of durable enjoyment, speculation or intrigue…

Sometimes you can tell the type of fan by simply looking at its box. A big cream satin covered box could only contain a large (white) ostrich feather fan. Often it is the interior of cases which can give a clue as to that particular fan’s origin. The lining in newsprint to some of the early 1800’s boxes being in French, German, or English, denotes if nothing else in which country the fan was purchased. Sadly few of the earlier fans have kept their own boxes.

In the 19th century, the most expensive fine fans were sold in a box or case, often stamped with the name and address of the évantailliste. These precursors in packaging design knew that a delicate presentation would add value to an already fine piece, and would as it were “frame” the fan.

In the Far East, and Japan in particular, presentation is culturally paramount, and even the most modest fan can have an elegant box, while the special Chinese quality fans for export to Europe and America have lacquered containers with workmanship on them that is on a par with the fan itself.

A fascinating aspect of the fan case arises from the examination of the labels or inscription therein, and these, in addition to the shapes and sizes, give a clear idea of the status of the fan enclosed, and the importance of the évantailliste or Fan-Maker at different stages of his career.

This exhibition brings together fans of different types and from different parts of the world, for the amateur to enjoy and for the connoisseur to investigate… Discover how much a fan case can tell about the history and provenance of the fan.

Browse Past Displays

Museum Opening Times

Tuesday - Saturday

11am - 5pm


12pm - 5pm

Planned Closures

Find out more here

12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich,
London SE10 8ER


Adults: £5.00

Concessions: Info £3.00

Children (age 7-16): £3.00

National Trust Members:

50% discount on the adult price ticket

Free Entry for...

Children under 7, Art Fund Members and London Pass Members

Afternoon Tea at Greenwich Fan Museum

Tea in the Orangery

Enjoy afternoon tea in the beautifully muraled museum orangery.

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Museum Admission Pricing

Adults: £5.00
Children (age 7-16): £3.00
Concessions: £3.00
  • Students (with vaild student card)
  • Senior citizens
  • Registered disabled
  • English Heritage
  • Friends of The Horniman
  • Friends of The Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Members/Volunteers of the National Maritime Museum
National Trust Members:

50% discount on the Adult price tickets

Free Entry for…

Children under 7, Art Fund Members and London Pass Members

Tuesday Special:

Free entry for senior citizens and disabled visitors (except for groups)

Please note that the discounts listed above cannot be applied when visitors are part of a large group visit or guided tour group.  Please click here for further details.

Group Bookings