#7088 $900 Sold
Chantilly lace parasol with carved ivory handle, 1860s
The aristocratic, diminutive parasol features fine Chantilly lace, an intricately hand carved handle, and an unusual combination of two silk linings. The top lining layer, under the lace, is ivory silk taffeta. The under layer, slightly smaller so it won't show from the outside, is a delightful (and surprising) pink hue. Such a fancy parasol was more of a fashion accessory and status symbol than a sun shield.
The high relief carving of the ivory handle and finial is a work of art. Carving in ivory goes back 3,700 years to the Yin Dynasty in China. This is an art which requires both delicacy and decisiveness in the carver, since one mistake will ruin the entire piece. There are no mistakes in the exquisite ivory handle!
Parasols were practical because they shielded a Victorian lady's pale complexion from the sun. The wealthier classes had pale skin, while darker skin meant a life of outdoor labor. This was before the 1920s when Coco Chanel made the suntan fashionable.
The parasol was also useful in the subtle art of flirtation. Just as the lady employed her fan at a fancy dress ball to convey messages to her lover, she could use her parasol during the daytime. Wealthy ladies had parasols for every outfit, but poorer women also owned at least one parasol.
The condition is almost excellent. I found a few tiny mends in the lace. You probably will not even notice them.
The parasol is 25" tall and approximately 20" across when opened.