Francesco Paolo Tosti - Folding Fan, 1897

Francesco Paolo Tosti (Ortona, Italy, 1846 - 1916, Ortona, Italy)

Folding Fan, 1897

Ink on paper with wood ribs, 33 x 59.1 cm (13 x 23 1/4 in.) open


Object details

Accession number


Object Case

Musicians Case


Gift from the composer Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846-1916) to Isabella Stewart Gardner in Monte Carlo on 4 November 1897.


Inscribed in ink (upper left): Pour Mrs. Gardner / (Souvenir)
Inscribed in ink (above musical notation): Je t'aime / Fragment
Inscribed in ink: Lentamente with the opening bars of "Je t'aime"
Signed and dated in ink (lower right): F. Paolo Tosti / Monte Carlo 4 Nov. 97

Dimension Notes

Height with brass ring: 33.66 cm (13 1/4 in.) Tassel: 19.05 cm (7 1/2 in.)


Ellen Dennis. "A Note on the Fans in the Collection." Fenway Court (1984), p. 48.

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This fan is a souvenir of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s meeting with composer Sir Paolo Tosti. A member of the Royal Academy of Music who was knighted by King Edward VII, Tosti rose from humble beginnings in Italy to become a fashionable composer of “salon music” in London during the 1890s. Gardner was a champion of artists challenged by early poverty, and this fan—inscribed with the words “Pour Mrs. Gardner” (for Mrs. Gardner) and “Je t’aime”(I love you)—may be read as a tribute to her compassionate patronage.