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.
Two Edwardian silver parasol handles, one with floral embossed pattern; W&D, London, 1911. The other in the form of a swans head and neck, turquoise eye (one missing); London, 1906. A/f. Both with sticks broken off.
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
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
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 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
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)
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
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