Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Perhaps not a question that is often asked, how do you keep a member of the Queen’s Guard cool? Other than being on ‘tour of duty’ for two hours at a time, the guards themselves are not permitted to sit, lie down, remove their bearskin, or fan themselves to stay cool in the height of summer. These fully operational members of the military are charged with protecting the official residences of royalty and must be vigilant, and ‘stand at ease’ at all times unless they are coming to attention and pacing. They must never stand easy.

That’s why these iconic symbols of Britain have been celebrated for decades, and reproduced in the form of souvenirs in every manifestation fathomable. The latest of which are a series of Guardsmen Fans, commissioned by Hélène Alexander for The Fan Museum (Greenwich).

Seven assorted designs of The Guards were produced for the regimental fans. There are 10 individual images of the guards, sewn together in a traditional fan shape. After printing the flat sheets and allowing them to dry, which took just over a week, Holywell Press sent them to a specialist print finishing company to make the cutting forms and die-cut out the individual Guardsmen. The specialist company then bound the cut shapes in bundles of 10 with plastic binding and a stud fastening.

Careful hand-stitch work in our bindery

The shapes were carefully hand-sewn together with thread, by Marina in our bindery to exact measurements allowing for maximum fanning without compromising the integrity of the fan itself. Marina described this job as ‘a labour of love and not one which we wanted to entrust to a third party.’

The production of the fans took several weeks to complete, but the finished result was worth it. The Fan Museum holds over 5,000 fans and fan leaves with examples from all over the world, from 11th century to present day. The new Guardsmen fans will make a welcome addition to the gift shop, and to those of the individual regimental gift shops and museums. We are sure they will be extremely popular throughout the year, of course in the summer, but also as the ideal stocking filler in the winter.

Holywell Press, not your usual printer

The Guardsmen Fans were hand delivered to Hélène at the museum in Central London, by Ken Smale, Business Development Director at Holywell Press. After all the care and attention they had been given, Ken wanted to see them delivered himself and was delighted to meet Hélène, who was so kind with her comments.

The team at Holywell Press love unusual projects, such as printing these fans, and we love to hear how the finished item is distributed and used by our clients. If you have something in the back of your mind that you’d like to achieve, but you’re not sure if it can be done, get in touch and challenge us!

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