History behind the humble umbrella

Mesopotamia - Limestone relief from the Palace of Sennacherib, Nineveh, 700-692 BCE. An attendant holds an umbrella over the king's head while armed guards follow the chariot.

Antiquity -
In ancient Greece the parasol (skiadeion) was an indispensable accessory to a lady of fashion in the late 5th century BCE.

Book of Han -
The 'Book of Han' is a history of China completed in 111 CE. It contains a reference to a collapsible umbrella, mentioning its usage in the year 21 CE.

17th century -
Umbrellas and parasols were incorporated into 17th-century art. 

Jonas Hanway (1712–1786) - Jonas Hanway, the founder of the Magdalen Hospital, is believed to be the first male Londoner to carry an umbrella.

Samuel Fox (1815–1887) -
British industrialist and businessman Samuel Fox is credited with inventing the steel-ribbed umbrella in 1852.

Royal protection -
Queen Elizabeth II makes her way underneath a huge umbrella to watch an Ashanti chiefs ceremony in Ghana during a royal visit in 1960.

Umbrella installation -
An installation entitled "Umbrella Sky Project" created by Portuguese artist Patricia Cunha and composed of 800 suspended colorful umbrellas in Paris.

The umbrella as sculpture -
Pictured: the landmark sculpture "Umbrellas" by George Zongolopoulos (1903–2004), located in Thessaloniki, Greece.

'Mary Poppins' (1964) -
Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) puts her brolly to good use as she flies over London's rooftops in an iconic scene from this much-loved musical fantasy film.

The umbrella in music -
Rihanna's 'Umbrella' received critical acclaim from music critics when it was released in 2007.

The umbrella as a fashion accessory - It doesn't have to be sunny or raining for an umbrella to find its place in celebrity culture. Pictured is Lady Gaga in New York.

Fashion statement -
An umbrella's print design is often purposely created to match wardrobe, and is perceived as a fashion statement as much as a practical accessory.

Nature's umbrella -
In the highlands of Mindanao in the Philippines, the large fronds of Dipteris conjugata, a species of fern, are used as an umbrella by locals.

Umbrellas in architecture -
The design of the umbrella lends itself to use in numerous architectural projects. 

Cocktail umbrella -
No cocktail is complete without a cocktail umbrella, a small paper parasol especially associated with tropical drinks. 

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