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  • Date:

    1840-1849 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Metal frame covered with watered silk and silk fringing. Carved coral and ivory stick. Carved coral trimmings.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Gason

  • Museum number:


  • 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

From the mid 1830s smaller parasols became popular for open carriage rides where they were best displayed. The sticks of these carriage parasols were thin and mostly made of wood or ivory as in this example. Here the ivory has been carved to resemble holly or blackthorn sticks with tiny pieces of red coral forming the knots in the wood. Red coral is also used at the end of the handle carved into the head of a classical looking woman, and at the rib tips where tiny dog's heads are barely visible under the tassels. A coral ring attached to the ferrule end is used to hold the cover closed when not in use.

Physical description

Parasol. Ivory watered silk, silk fringing. Carved ivory and coral stick, carved coral ferrule, rib-tips and handle.


1840-1849 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Metal frame covered with watered silk and silk fringing. Carved coral and ivory stick. Carved coral trimmings.


Length: 590 mm, Circumference: 1376 mm approx

Object history note

Description from the acquisition register

Sunshade of white watered silk, with ivory stick inlaid with red coral. The handle, tips of the whalebone ribs, and ring for suspension are of carved red coral also.

The cover has a white silk fringe. The stick is slender and carved to represent a wooden stick with inlay in spots on each projection. The handle is carved with a woman's head wearing a floral diadem. The top has a silk rosette and tassel of white silk, also large ring and pendent chains of coral.

Descriptive line

Parasol with white watered silk cover, silk fringe, ivory stick with coral inlay and carved coral handle; English, 1840s


Coral; Ivory; Silk; Metal


Moire; Carving; Fringing


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


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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