umbrella noun / ʌmˈbrɛlə / 1. a device consisting of a circular canopy of cloth on a folding metal frame supported by a central rod, used as protection against rain.
Whilst in London I came across a beautiful old umbrella store called James Smith & Sons, which was established in 1830 and still retains its ye olde Victorian shop front on New Oxford St. It’s a remnant of a bygone era when every good gentleman possessed a hand-carved brolly and the ladies with their frilled parasols.
The original umbrellas were quite humble, a single palm leaf to provide a little protection from the sun. With time and across different cultures it evolved; leather umbrellas to keep off the rain appeared in Ancient China, woven leaves mixed with decorative feathers shaded the wealthy in Ancient Egypt and delicate painted oil-paper parasols in Japan.
Whilst umbrellas and parasols have faded from fashion over the centuries, I’m all for a bit of protection from the elements, especially when it comes to spending hot summer days by the seaside. I always have my vintage style beach brolly ready for those lazy afternoons dozing on the sand. Have a look at the Sun Ray and Summer Field Beach Umbrella to inject some stylish protection for your next beach visit.