Advert for the Ilfracombe Hospital for Umbrellas
Medium: Print on paper
While umbrellas have been used in most civilisations for centuries, its modern form - with manually operated hydraulic spokes - was patented by John Peale in 1786. Parasols became popular during the 19th century as a fashion accessory for upper-class women. Designed for aesthetic effect and to protect from strong sunshine, they were made in colourful and expensive material with handles covered in precious stones and jewels. They wouldn't have kept one dry in a shower. Gentlemen's umbrellas were more restrained and utilitarian affairs.