Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Umbrella.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Common in London in 1710. First used in Edinburgh by Dr. Spens. First used in Glasgow in 1780. Mentioned by Drayton in his Muses Elizium (1630); but Drayton evidently refers to a sort of fan. Quarles’s Emblems (1635) also uses the word to signify the Deity hidden in the manhood of Christ. “Nature is made th’ umbrella of the Deity” (bk. iv. emblem 14). Drayton’s lines are:   1
“And like umbrellas, with their feathers,
Shield you in all sorts of weathers.”
        The Graphic tells us, “An umbrella is now being made in London for an African potentate which, when unfurled, will cover a space sufficient for twelve persons. The stick is … fifteen feet long.”—March 18th, 1894, p. 270.
   The Tatler, in No. 238 (October 17th, 1710), says:   2
        “The young gentlemen belonging to the Custom House … borrowed the umbrella from Wilk’s coffee-house.”
   So that umbrellas were kept on hire at that date.   3
   Jonas Hanway (born 1712) used an umbrella in London to keep off the rain, and created a disturbance among the sedan porters and public coachmen. So that probably umbrellas were not commonly used in the streets at the time.   4
“The tucked-up semstress walks with hasty strides,
While streams ran down her oiled umbrella’s sides.”
Swift: A City Shower (1710).
“Or underneath the umbrella’s oily shed
Safe thro’ the wet on clinking pattens tread.”
Gay: Trivia, bk. i. (1711).



Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.