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Antique Face Screens Gallery

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The face screen was the ultimate accessory; not only did it serve a practical purpose, but it also projected that most elusive of qualities: the IMAGE.  

Request current  list of available Face Screens with prices.

The face screen was the ultimate accessory; not only did it serve a practical purpose, but it also projected that most elusive of qualities: the IMAGE.  

Make up was a tricky business during the 18th and 19th centuries. The ingredients used in the manufacture of creams, rouges, powders etc were both detrimental to the complexion and also unstable. 

Wax, fat, arsenic, lead, chalk and all sort of powdered substances were mixed in order to give texture and colour. 

Furthermore, these concoctions were applied thickly, the thickness increasing as the skin deteriorated. The deleterious effects of such face treatments were not understood, but it was pretty obvious that they were unstable and prone to “run” when hot.  

The Face screen would protect. The handles are sometimes elaborate with ornamental turning , all the better to twirl between the fingers.

painted on silk, a scene at the tea table, the expensive fashionable drink of the 18th century. It rather proves the point-the fashionable lady is holding her face screen while her friend imparts some gossip. A gallant stands by in a characteristic pose.

Antique Face Screen Painted on silk Circa 1780: this is painted on silk, a scene at the tea table, the expensive fashionable drink of the 18th century. It rather proves the point-the fashionable lady is holding her face screen while her friend imparts some gossip. 
A gallant stands by in a characteristic pose.

During the fashionable “soirees” the “beau monde” mingled in rooms kept cosy with open fires and lit by candles. The last thing the ladies and gentlemen (who also pasted themselves with dubious preparations) wanted, was multi-coloured rivulets running down their crumbling cheeks. 

As for the young, they both wanted to protect their youthful skin from the glare of the fire and their rouge from spoiling and undermining their beauty. What to do?  

In summery the styles of face Screens are these:

  • 18th Mostly round, painted and embroidered often on wire hoops.

  • 19th Early. Combined elements, paintings, drawings, embroidery, eccentric combinations of feathers, decoupage etc. Introduction of framing in embossed  paper.

  • 19th Mid. Mostly papier mâché painted by professionals, although other forms still fashionable.      

 

101fs Ref:101fs: Pair of Antique embossed paper Face Screens with water colour paintings of flowers. Circa 1825 102fs Ref:102fs: Antique Face Screen in paper with drawing of boats. C. 1820. more details 103fs Ref:101fs: Antique wooden Face Screen, painted with a picture of life in the China seas. C. 1820.  more details 104fs Ref:104fs: Antique Face Screen in wood, decorated in penwork Chinoiserie. C. 1820.- more details       105fs Ref:105fs: Antique  Face Screen in wood with Chinoiserie decoration. C.1820.-more details    106fs Ref:106fs: Antique Face Screen painted in Chinoiserie C1820- more details       107fs Ref:107fs: Antique Face Screen in papier mâché C.1840-  more details    108fs Ref:108fs: Antique Pair of Antique Face Screens in papier mâché. C. 1860  more details        109fs Ref:109fs: Antique Face Screen with painted flowers C. 1815.-Face Screen with painted flowers C. 1815.- more details   110fs Ref:110fs: Antique Face Screen in red. C. 1840.   more details 111fs Ref:111fs: Antique Face Screen with painted flowers C. 1815. more details 112fs Ref:112fs: Antique Face Screens in papier mâché. C. 1850. more details Ref:113fs: Antique  more details       114fs Ref:114fs: Antique  Pair of Antique Face Screens in papier mâché. C. 1860 -more details    115fs Ref:115fs: Antique Face Screen in papier mâché painted with Gothic architectural scenes. C.1850.- more details       118fsRef:118fs: Antique papier mâché Face Screens painted with exotic birds and flowers C1850. - more details    119fsRef:119fs: Antique embossed paper Face Screen with central watercolour of flowers. C.1825- more details        120fs Ref:120fs: Antique embossed paper Face Screen with a picture of two young women in pencil and watercolour.-1830- more details   121fsRef:121fs: Pair of Antique embossed paper Face Screens with petit point embroidered metal mesh centres-c1830- more details 123fs Ref:123fs: Pair of Antique Face Screen in paper painted with flowers. C. 1820  more details 125fs Ref:125fs: Antique wooden Face Screen with transfers of Greek warriors.1825  more details 127fs Ref:127fs: Pair of Antique landscape painted Face Screens. C1825 more details       128fsRef:128fs: Pair of Antique papier mâché Face Screens painted with exotic birds and flowers. C.1850. more details    131fs Ref:131fs: Pair of Antique wooden Face Screens printed with four "beauties". C. 1825 -  more details       133fsRef:133fs: Pair of Antique embossed paper Face Screens with central water colours of flowers. C 1825.  more details    134fsRef:134fs: Antique Face Screens in papier mâché with bird and flower painting. C. 1850.   more details        137fsRef:137fs: Pair of Antique Face Screens with embossed surrounds and floral watercolours C.1830.  more details   139fsRef:139fs: Pair of Antique papier mâché Face Screens painted with figures among classical ruins. C 1860.  more details   140fsRef:140fs: Antique straw-work Face Screen. C1800. more details    141fsRef:141fs: Pair of Antique embroidered and feathered Face Screens with fringed edges. C.1820. more details    143fsRef:143fs: Antique Face Screen made of feathers and painted with parrots and flowers. C. 1820.  more details    146fsRef:146fs: Pair of Antique embroidered, appliquéd and painted Face Screens. C1820.  more details    148fsRef:148fs: Pair of Antique embroidered Face Screens depicting birds. C. 1820.  more details    150fsRef:150fs: Pair of Antique Face Screens embroidered on velvet. C.1810.  more details    151fsRef:151fs: Antique Face Screen Painted on silk 1780 more details        Ref:153fs: Pair of Antique Face Screens in painted silk. C. 1800.  more details   154fs Ref:154fs: Antique Face Screen in silk with painted flowers and birds. C1820.  more details   155fsRef:155fs: Antique Face Screen in painted silk. C.1790.  more details    156fsRef:156fs: Pair of Antique papier mâché Face Screens with Chinoiserie decoration. C1820.  more details    158fsRef:158fs: Pair of Antique Face Screens in wood painted with flowers. C.1860.  more details    160fsRef:160fs:Antique Face Screens in wood with penwork and polychrome Chinoiserie decoration. C1815.  more details    161fsRef:161fs: Antique Face Screen in paper with decoupage decoration in Chinoiserie. C1815.  more details    162fsRef:162fs: Antique Face Screen in wood decorated in penwork C. 1815.  more details    163fsRef:163fs: Pair of Antique Face Screens in wood decorated in penwork. C. 1820.-  more details        164fsRef:164fs: Pair of Antique Face Screens in paper with decoupage decoration and watercolour drawings. C. 1810. -  more details   165fs Ref:165fs: Antique Face Screen in paper with watercolours of  Hamstall Ridware. C. 1810. -  more details    

THE FACE SCREEN

Hold the face Screen up, keep the pesky flame away from your face and save face in more ways than one. Using your face screen you could also avoid the eye of a disagreeable acquaintance, stop an unpleasant encounter, create your own private face space.

We are of course talking of a time when to be short on style was more of a crime than to be short on principle. The face screen had to be a work of art. It was an object for hiding your face, but also of exhibiting your intellectual, artistic, creative and fashionable inner face. 

Your choice said it all: did you paint well, did you select well, did you commission well, was your needlework up to scratch?  You were aware that the company would scrutinize your little screen, so you waved it elegantly on its exquisite handle, wafting the scent of your erudition and asserting the prodigiosity of your talent. 

You made it known that you were interested in botany, the classics, the orient; you visited interesting places, the theatre and the cathedrals; you could paint, draw, embroider; you had the aesthetic sensitivity which allowed you to combine different elements with artistry and flair.  

If you had no time or inclination to make your own screen you made sure you chose well. You selected a creation on paper or papier mâché painted by a trained artist, or a talented gentle lady, who had hit hard times. Charles Dickens gives us a glimpse of such artistically rich but financially stressed lives. The subject of the art work could be chosen for its sheer beauty; birds, flowers, swags in combinations of nature and fantasy in which golden rococo cartouches caught the light and the eye of your friends.

If beauty was not enough, you could give a hint of your inner self with gloomy Gothic scenes, suggestive of moody introspection. You could also display your interest in the theatre, the classics, Cathay or any other subject that opened a window into your very soul. You could use different screens for different occasions: Chinoiserie fancies for a ball, ruins for a cerebral gathering.  

The face screen was your shield, but also a trophy of your inner self; a pennant marking your place in society.  

Request current  list of available Face Screens with prices.

See: 

Antique Boxes Tea Caddies Society

Japanned Papier Mâché and Tinware

Encyclopedia of Ephemera A Guide to the Fragmentary Documents by Maurice Rickards

 

All text and images and linked images are © 1999-2015 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly. If you require any further information on permitted use, or a licence to republish any material, email us at copyright@hygra.com

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