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Title: Painted & Embroidered Silk Fan
Identifier: 2005.4.104
Donor: Barbara Larson
Item Date: c. 1930
Image Creator: Museums of Mississauga
Creation Date: 2006
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A hand painted and embroidered silk fan. The predominant colours are rose, mauve, black, and green. The fan is made of silk with a net backing. In some places on the backing the net has split along the fold lines. The centre of the flowers in the design are embroidered with blue and gold threads. There is also gold thread embroidered around the fan about 3 cm from the outside edge. The top edge of the fan is finished with three 2 mm ribbons, two light green and one gold. These thin ribbons are sewn together with gold thread. There are 14 plastic spines on the fan. The two outside spines are a tan colour, 21 cm long. One of these is carved into flowers for 8 cm at one end. The other outside spine is etched with a flower design. The 12 centre spines are a cream colour and are etched and painted with a flower design at the bottom. A 3 cm x 2 mm loop of engraved brass holds the fan together at the bottom. History: The fan originally belonged to Dora Sayers Caro. According to Barbara, 'Dora entertained her teenage friends upstairs in the log bungalow and she decorated the area with a Chinese theme in which this fan was included.' Dora Sayers Caro (1915-2004) was born in Clarkson in 1915, to Beverly and Annie Sayers (née Harris). Dora lived close to Benares in a number of homes, including ‘Skidoo’, ‘The Pines’, and later ‘The Log Bungalow’. During World War I, Dora lived at Benares with her mother and brother while her father was overseas as an officer. Dora first started acting at age 10, appearing in school plays, and later in local stage productions in Mississauga and Oakville. To gain experience, she found work at the University of Toronto’s ‘Hart House Theatre’, working with children’s theatre productions. In 1936, at the age of 21, Dora moved to New York and found work with the touring company of “What Every Woman Knows”. Dora’s first big break came a year after arriving in New York, in 1937's “Stage Door”. She later appeared in the long-running Broadway production of “My Fair Lady”. The pinnacle came in 1941, when Dora was chosen to be the understudy for the legendary Katherine Hepburn in “The Philadelphia Story”. The Tony award winning playwright, Moss Hart, took one of his shows to the American-occupied Pacific islands during World War II, to entertain the troops. Dora joined his cast for “The Man Who Came To Dinner”. Dora also helped form the United Services Organization in 1941. The USO provided health and recreational facilities for soldiers and administered church services, but was best known for the travelling vaudeville reviews that entertained Allied troops in Europe and the Pacific during WWII. Dora married actor Ralph Forbes (pronounced RAYF) in 1946. Forbes appeared in over 70 movies from 1921 to 1944. He and Dora met in 1942 during the stage production of Noël Coward’s “Private Lives”. Ralph died 5 years after he and Dora married in 1951. Dora later married Jim Caro in 1954 and retired from the stage. Jim and Dora were avid equestrians. They also enjoyed breeding and showing thoroughbred dogs. Dora and Jim lived in France and the Bahamas before settling in the United States. She lived in McLean, Virginia - near Washington D.C. - until her death in 2004.
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