Holyroodhouse Ball Fan
West Highland Museum

This Jacobite fan was made for the Holyroodhouse Palace Ball in 1745. It is thought to be the work of the engraver Sir Robert Strange, a known Jacobite supporter.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart (1720-88) had made significant progress with his attempt to claim the throne of Great Britain for his father, James Francis Edward, the son of James VII and II. In September 1745, Charles took control of Edinburgh establishing his court at the Palace of Holyroodhouse until the end of October 1745 when he left Edinburgh intent on raising a larger army en route to London.

Made from paper and ivory sticks, the fan acts in some ways as a piece of Jacobite propaganda, depicting Prince Charles Edward Stuart flanked by the god Mars and goddess Bellona, the Roman God and Goddess of war to show his anticipated military success. Meanwhile, the Hanoverian ‘usurpers’ of the British throne are depicted running away.

These fans were said to have been distributed to ladies who attended the ball. It is a wonderful and rare example of Jacobite material culture. After the ’45 was put down at Culloden, objects like this that connected anyone to the ball at the Palace of Holyroodhouse would have been hidden or even destroyed.

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Date: 1745
Materials : Paper, Ivory
Size : 27cm x 13cm

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