Haslemere Educational Museum
Culture & Learning Since 1888
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Textiles Accessories Collection

Stone silk taffeta parasol © Haslemere Educational Museum

Catalogue number:

Stone silk taffeta parasol

Date made:
19th Century

Location unknown


Hand Made


Height: 67.5 cm, Width: 0.9 cm (handle), 6.5 cm (silk canvas base), Depth: 0.9 cm (handle), 6.5 cm (silk canvas base)

A parasol of stone silk taffeta and lined with cream silk. The external layer is also decorated with strips of scalloped silk and the handle is mauve/grey painted wood. 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.