Rare Victorian Jamaican Jenny Lind Palmette Fan


Rare late 19th century Jenny Lind palmette fan made of bone sticks and individual leaves made of Jamaican palm trees and ferns.



Origin: Jamaica (sticks are English or French)

Date: ca. 1890-1900

This rare late Victorian palmette (Jenny Lind) fan is made of carved and pierced bone sticks and individual leaf shapes that are made from the bark of the Lagetta lintearia tree (also known as the lace bark tree) and the peel of the fruit of the Mountain Cabbage Palm (Areca oleracea) (Fendel 2006). The leaves have various types of dried fern. The tips have wispy plant fibres attached. The type of sticks used and the celluloid loop indicates a date for this fan to around 1890-1900.

These fans were reportedly sold in aid of a the orphanage for girls in Kingston Jamaica. “Young women in teachers’ training colleges for women learned how to make lace-bark products for their classrooms and school girls made fans and doilies from lace-bark for fundraising benefits to aid the poor and special needs organizations, such as Orphanage for Girls at Halfway Tree in Kingston. Amidst the Jamaican exhibits at the World’s Exposition in New Orleans, 1884-1885, several lace-bark ornaments were made by St. Mary’s College and St. Mary’s Practicing School for Females.” (Buckridge 2016, 102).

A large and magnificent example was presented to Queen Victoria which can now be viewed at Osborne House.

Length: 8.5″ (21.5 cm) Width: 14.75″ (38 cm) (including the tips)

Condition: Very good condition with minor losses commensurate with age. Please note due to the nature of the plant materials used on this fan, it needs to be handled with care.


Buckridge, S. 2016. African Lace-Bark in the Caribbean The construction of race, class, and gender. Bloomsbury Academic.

Fendel, C. 2006. Novelty Hand Fans. Hand Fan Productions.