House Of Duvelleroy Fans Paris

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 5th June 2014


Any of you who regularly visit my Website will know of my lengthy involvement in ‘Searching for René’ – the Free French pilot René Mouchotte – of finding his sister through leaving a letter in the Mouchotte Tomb in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and of getting his Battle of Britain Medals to her three weeks before her death and finally having the medals presented to the family in the British Ambassadors Residence in Paris. The story did not end there because last September I was invited to Gibraltar where they renamed the RAF HQ Mouchotte Building in honour of this rather special Frenchman who’d stolen a plane from an airfield in Oran, after the capitulation of the Vichy to the Germans, and flew the partially crippled plane to Gibraltar from whence he travelled to England. He joined the RAF and was the first non-Commonwealth officer to become an RAF Squadron Leader.

During my research over a period of 5 years, I discovered that René’s Great Grandfather, Jean Pierre Duvelleroy had started the highly successful House of Duvelleroy Fans in 1827 and that René’s Mother had sold the business to Jules –Charles Maignan. I can do no better than copy the information from Wikipedia as follows -

In 1940, Jules-Charles Maignan, who used to work at the Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette, took over the House of Duvelleroy from the great-grandchildren of the founder. Madeleine Boisset, a lifelong apprentice of Georges Duvelleroy, ensured for some time the continuity of know-how. Until a tragedy befell: her affiliation to the Resistance movement in France was discovered, and she was deported to the Ravensbruck camp. She died in 1945. It is with her that young Michel Maignan, today’s inheritor of the House, discovered the world of fans.
Duvelleroy is one of the only Houses of fans to have survived after World War II. Little by little, fans left women’s hands to become a collector’s privilege. After the war, Duvelleroy continued existing thanks to the trade of small leather goods and pouches, as well as by selling and restoring antique fans.

Duvelleroy fan, 2010.
1981-2009: the saving of a heritage
By duty of memory, Michel Maignan conserved the Duvelleroy Fund which his grandfather passed on to him in 1981. This Fund is made of fans, drawings, tools, materials and furnishings kept since the foundation of the House of Duvelleroy in 1827. “I give it to you so that you can make something out of it”, he said. In 1986, an exhibit dedicated to the Fan as a mirror of the Belle Époque was given in Paris: many Duvelleroy fans were exhibited on this occasion. Since then, many publications and exhibits have been developed, referring to Duvelleroy. In 1995, an exhibit in England was entirely dedicated to the House: Duvelleroy, King of Fans, Fanmaker to Kings.
2010: a renewed creativity
In 2010, two young women from the luxury and fashion industry became partners with Michel Maignan, in order to redevelop the House of Duvelleroy through the creation of high-end fans.

Just before my all too short Paris visit, I made contact with Eloise and Raphael the two young ladies now running Duvelleroy. They very kindly agreed to see me although they are just in the process of moving.

WOW – the fans they are creating are pure works of Art – and sadly and understandably with a price tag to match. (When I win the lottery I know which one I will buy!)
They have inherited not only the Fan Making equipment but also boxes of feathers from the 19th Century which they are using in their creations today. The fans are created in an Atelier outside Paris – perhaps on another visit I might be able to watch the intricate and intense creation of a fan.
I was thrilled to meet them and they seemed equally delighted with my story of ‘Searching for René’ and declared that they were sure M. Maignan would also be interested. It is fascinating to look at the circle of events which have emanated from writing a cheque to sponsor a name on the Wall of Remembrance at Capel le Ferne.

As you know I am only able to post one photo with my blog – so I will put some others into the Gallery.


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