Design for a fan

Artist: Anonymous, Austrian, 18th century

Date: 18th century

Medium: Etching

Dimensions: Sheet: 11 1/2 x 32 13/16 in. (29.2 x 83.4 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1949

Accession Number: 49.95.65


An unusual but rich source for information on gardens, this eighteenth-century fan is as delightful an object to view today as it must have been for its original owner. In a witty way, the fan displays the various entertainments offered in what looks like the prototype of an amusement park, possibly the Prater in Vienna, famous for such public entertainment. The activities one could choose from are shown in all their detail: here couples try shooting targets, there ladies swing high up in a flimsily constructed forerunner of the Ferris wheel, propelled by hand. Other visitors, all dressed in equally exaggerated outfits, walk around pointing at various delights or enjoy refreshments.