Early 19th Century Ackermann Illustrative Plates Collide With Contemporary Fashion:
Lasell University Students Explore Intrinsic Links Between History and Modern Design
Object ID:
Object Details:
This mid-nineteenth century folding fan consists of an intricately floral-carved bone guards and a gold scrolled embossed leaf. On the leaf are three vignettes, each depicting different scenes. The far-left vignette features a woman painting another woman, while a third watches. The center composition depicts a group of women creating music together with various instruments including harps and cellos. There are three women visable in the last vignette, acting out various scenes. Each of these painted stories has a tranquil and ethereal ambience, further promoted by draped tunics from the classical Greek period. After the French Revolution, hand fans fell out of favor. In order to prompt a resurgence of this accessory, marketing campaigns used enticing imagery to promote hand fan etiquette as a sign of gentility.

Compare to this record: Ackermann Fashion Plate
Cultural Connections:
Rudolph Ackermann's publication not only sold fashion to women, but he also sold lifestyle. The arts were an important aspect of a leisurely life during the Regency era, particularly in the form of music. The lute that the lady in the Ackermann print holds is a contemporary nod toward the popularity of the same instrument from Ancient Greece and its presence in Greco-Roman art and culture. The mid-19th century fan carries on this reference regarding Ancient Greece and the tranquility of music, by displaying ladys dressed in Grecian garb while playing contemporary instruments. Both artifacts depict an alluring environment that promotes artistic endeavors as a fashionable pastime within a life of luxury.

18 Franklin, Harper, "1820-1829," Fashion History Timeline, May 27, 2020. https://fashionhistory.fitnyc.edu/1820-1829/.
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