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Parasol

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)
    United Kingdom (used)

  • Date:

    1860-1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered silk cover with fringe including passementerie made of knotted frise silk. The parasol is embroidered with coloured silks in satin stitch and French knots. It has a carved ivory stick and whalebone and metal framework.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Lord and Lady Cowdray

  • Museum number:

    T.211-1970

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The parasol was a popular accessory during the 19th and early 20th century, a period when sun tanned skin was highly undesirable. It functioned both as a sunshade and a fashionable accompaniment to dress, distinguishing itself from the umbrella through its infinite and luxurious forms and essentially feminine status. Like the earlier trend for fans parasols displayed an individual's style and could be used in a coquettish ritual to hide the modest bearer from unwanted glances.

Elaborate parasols such as this with intricate Chinese embroidery and dense ivory carving on the handle, were best displayed on carriage rides. Ingenious inventions such as the folding stick, enabling the parasol to be folded in half when not in use, and the 'marquise' hinge, used to angle the cover, were developed in line with this ritual, and both are seen in this example. There is no strap provided to hold the cover closed, instead the parasol is held by a carrying loop on the ferrule, with the cover facing up.

Physical description

Parasol with white, satin, domed cover with a spray of naturalistic flowers (pansies, roses, honeysuckle, etc.) embroidered in satin stitch in coloured silks in each quarter. There is a knotted fringe of white silk around the tip and a fringe of strands on a floss braid around the edge. The lining is of white silk.
The stick is ivory with silver plated brass mounts, hinged at the top spring to permit changed of angle and halfway up the handle to allow for folding. The handle is a flat crook made of Chinese densely carved ivory. The ribs are of whalebone, the stays of metal. There is a carrying loop at the tip.

Place of Origin

China (made)
United Kingdom (used)

Date

1860-1870 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Embroidered silk cover with fringe including passementerie made of knotted frise silk. The parasol is embroidered with coloured silks in satin stitch and French knots. It has a carved ivory stick and whalebone and metal framework.

Dimensions

Length: 72 cm, Width: 47 cm aprox when open, Width: 19 cm closed

Object history note

A piece of paper at accession was pinned to this parasol, reading: "This parasol, belonging to Queen Victoria, was embroidered for her, in China, to a design of English flowers according to her order."

Historical context note

The parasol was a popular accessory during the 19th and early 20th century, a period when the sun tan was not seen as desirable. It functioned both as a sunshade and a fashionable accompaniment to dress, distinguishing itself from the umbrella through its infinite and luxurious forms and essentially feminine status. Like the earlier trend for fans parasols displayed an individual's style and could be used in a coquettish ritual to hide the modest bearer from unwanted glances.

Descriptive line

Embroidered satin parasol, China, 1860-1870.

Materials

Silk; Satin; Fringe; Whalebone; Metal

Subjects depicted

Pansies; Honeysuckle; Roses; Flowers

Categories

Embroidery; Fashion; Accessories; Textiles; Europeana Fashion Project; Women's clothes; Parasols & Umbrellas; Personal accessories

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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