Learn about Parasols

Parasols were used by the ancient Sumerians as long ago as 3000 BC and they have been made ever since. However they did not come into use in Europe until the 16th century. Accepted terminology is that a parasol is designed to protect the user from sunlight, while an umbrella protects the user from rain. Thus the fabric from which a parasol is made is usually not waterproof, and often of much lighter fabric than an umbrella, such as silk, cotton, nylon, gingham and lace, with ivory or wooden shafts. Victorian era umbrellas had frames of wood or baleen, but these devices were expensive and hard to fold when wet. Englishman Samuel Fox invented the steel-ribbed umbrella in 1852, however metal ribs were known in use in umbrellas and parasols in France at the end of the eighteenth century. Our grandmothers' parasols had a lot of use, on summer walks in the park, at the races, on or near the river. It was apparently considered fashionable to have one's dress and parasol in matching material, with the result that the frame was continually being re-covered. Many of these nineteenth century parasols have perished or only the frames remain.

You can reduce the number of items displayed by entering a keyword that must be included in the description of the item.

These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

Antique French 19th century carved ebony ladies silk parasol

Ivory handled parasol with an ivory carved finial, eight ivory turned ends, green silk exterior with a pink silk interior & a brass collar stamped 'London'. Condition, fair, age related wear to the silk, length, 95 cm

A Japanese carved ivory parasol handle, Meiji period 1868, 1912, carved extensively to one side depicting dragons, length 28.5 cm

Possible KPM porcelain parasol handle finely painted with portrait of a beauty on cobalt blue and gilt enriched shaft.

An antique ivory parasol handle, later 19th century, with a twisted form to the lower section of the handle and a floral motif to the upper and fitted with a small shallow cup to the top designed to fasten to the parasol. Length 22 cm

19th century ivory carved parasol top in the form of a hand holding a ball

A parasol top from Royal Household of the Maharaja of Varanasi, gold and silver embroidery, gold brocade edging and sequins, housed in modern perspex case, 132 cm diameter

A lady's ivory and horn handled parasol, Kendall & Sons, circa 1905 having an ivory, horn and burl wood handle depicting a bird of prey, the parasol shade of brown silk, marked 'Kendall Paris' to the interior, with canvas sleeve 76 cm long. Property from t

A collection of carved whalebone and scrimshaw parasol handles and spinning tops, 19th century, the largest 8 cm

A mourning carriage parasol with folding handle Victorian, 1870/1880s; American; silk, metal, wood; good condition, slightly splitting in one spot

A Japanese Meiji carved ivory dragon handle for a parasol or walking stick, inset dragon eyes, signed. Length 30.5 cm

A Japanese ivory Shibiyama tapering parasol shaft, handle and Ferrule, without the canopy and an ivory and bone three Clawed rod, 19th/20th century. Inlaid in mother of pearl, coral and hard stones, with insects including beetles and hornets, around floral

Silver and porcelain parasol, swan head handle giving way to fine decorated porcelain. 88.5 cm

Fine quality Victorian parasol, ebony and bone handle. Approx 79 cm long

A French ivory parasol handle, circa 1900, exquisitely pierced and carved with leaves entwining the stem, the handle terminating in a whippet head motif. Length 26.5 cm

An Indian carved ivory parasol, the terminal with a nude female torso with hands behind her back Length 83 cm.

A French ivory parasol handle, 1890s, Dieppe carved, the petite handle with a tiny hook, relief carved with delicate flowers within scrolled motifs. Length 26 cm

An unusual Victorian parasol handle with a pressed horn or tortoiseshell stem, twisted rib decoration, an embossed sterling silver knob and silver and nickel ferrule. Hallmarked 1888.

Antique parasol, folding ivory handle with silk shade cloth

An early 20th century Oriental silver parasol handle, modelled as a section of bamboo and decorated in relief with cherry blossom with details picked out in coloured enamels, stamped character marks. Length 23 cm (excluding wooden insert)

Gilt metal and porcelain mounted French parasol, 92 cm long

Antique agate and sterling silver mounted parasol, inscription H. Edson 1903, Birmingham 1893-94, 89 cm long

A 19th century French carved ivory parasol handle, with plaited rope twist swags,oval shields, cascading acanthus fronds, wheat sheaves, bouquets of morning glory and rose garlands. Height 34 cm

A rare and exceptional late Victorian period malacca cane parasol with mechanical stained ivory donkey's head handle and silver collar engraved lady wood, 43 Princes gate & Hallmarked London 1900, the head with glass eyes is activated by a button, the mout

An interesting silver and mother of pearl parasol handle. Length 21.5 cm

An Edwardian parasol with floral painted silk shade, the handle embellished with gilt metal laurel and bow

Ivory carved parasol handle in three sections. Carved with village scenes, animals, fruits etc. Length 45 cm

Victorian mourning parasol in silk with hallmarked sterling silver mount

Victorian parasol in blue silk with green and cream tassels and a cream painted collapsible birch handle and ivory ring finial.

'La Favorite' parasol with an ivory handle and tip, a brass spine, blue and yellow washed silk fabric and a fringed edge

A Lalique enamel and gilded silk parasol presented to lady Seddon by the French Government on a Prime Ministerial visit to Paris in 1897. monogram (LJS, 1897). Provenance: by descent through the Seddon family

.