The Umbrella Unfurled; Its Remarkable Life & Times

Universally recognisable, the umbrella and its older, prettier sister the parasol have made their mark. Politics, religion, war and fashion have all been influenced by this modest contraption.

With a beautiful collection of images, The Umbrella Unfurled follows its hero to Ancient Egypt, where at first it was for the Pharaoh’s use only. References and physical representations of it are found throughout the Old World, often bearing great symbolic and ceremonial weight.

Yet despite its more practical reputation in the West, it still holds cultural significance. As the ultimate accoutrement to the fashionable Edwardian lady; as part of the rank-and-file uniform of the City gentleman; it even made it onto the battlefield, though against the better judgement of the Duke of Wellington.

And it has been wielded with more sinister intent as the weapon of choice by the KGB in seeking to dispatch dissidents abroad.

Decorative, useful, symbolic and even deadly, the umbrella has a story older and more elaborate than one might think, all related in a highly entertaining gift book.