Fans were a popular accessory for fashionable 18th century women and likely quite appreciated by a woman who, in her early life, did not possess many luxuries. Lore tells us that tavern worker Agnes Surraige met Sir Henry Frankland in 1742 and went on to be the nobleman's constant companion. Sir Henry and Agnes lived in Hopkinton and Boston homes, as well as residing for a time in Portugal. The couple’s Lisbon stay coincided with a 1755 earthquake which trapped Sir Frankland under rubble. Quick-thinking Agnes successfully organized a rescue party to free her lover. Soon after, Sir Henry and Agnes married and sailed back to Boston. During the American Revolution, a widowed Lady Frankland permanently fled America to settle in England.
Agnes’ fan consists of a paper panel on plain ivory “sticks” with an engraved “guard”, although a number of sticks, the back guard, and portions of the panel have been lost. The woman depicted within the central panel image exhibits the tall hair fashionable from the mid- 1760’s into the 1790’s.