Tuesday, December 13, 2011
This is a Marquis parasol dating from the early 1860's and is a very typical representation. A Marquis parasol, from what I have learned recently, is a very distinct style of parasol. They were almost exclusively manufactured mid 19c. and in the United States, with steel ribs and a wooden shaft with varying shapes for the finial and handle. The covering itself was always black, though not indicative of mourning, and could have up to three ruffles. Black was used for these parasols as brightly colored silks were hard to come by during the war and were quite expensive. A parasol was almost a necessity in a fashionable lady's wardrobe of the time as bonnets were getting smaller and some protection was needed from the sun. The Marquis style was easy to come by as it was sold in local department stores for sometimes as little as a dollar. These parasols were definitely a functional, but fashionable accessory. I would venture a guess (this could get me into trouble I know) that most women and older girls had one unless they were quite poor, or for reasons of locale such as remote farm wife etc. Again I will stress the word fashionable; if they could, or wanted to keep up with fashion, even in a slight way, where they had occasion to dress up in their best a parasol was a very likely accessory.