Haslemere Educational Museum
Culture & Learning Since 1888
Haslemere Museum Databases

Textiles Accessories Collection

Cream watered silk parasol © Haslemere Educational Museum

Catalogue number:
TA.5.53

Cream watered silk parasol

Date made:
19th Century

Place:
Location unknown

Material:
Silk

Techique:
Hand Made

Category:
Parasol

Dimensions:
Height: 70.5 cm, Width: 0.9 cm (handle), 6.5 cm (silk canvas base), Depth: 0.9 cm (handle), 6.5 cm (silk canvas base)

Description:
This parasol is made of cream watered silk grosgrain, which is lined with cream silk and edged with cream silk fringe. The handle is made from cream ivory and is inset with round coral pieces. Parasols were once items of fashion, and during the 19th century they were deployed particularly by women of the upper classes to keep the sun from tanning their face. It was important to maintain a fashionable, pale complexion as it signified days of inactivity due to family wealth, which meant they did not need to labour outdoors unlike their poorer, tanned counterparts. Parasol styles often changed due to influence from fashionable dress silhouettes, materials, embellishments and colours and 18th-Century parasols would often match outfits within a woman's wardrobe. The form of parasols changed as well over the years from the number of spokes and size of the cover to the length of the handle. Around 1800, the cover often wasn't larger than a handkerchief with just four spokes and its handle would be around 80cm in length. About 50 years later, the handles were developed to be folded at half length, which became very popular because it was easier to carry them.