ISSUE 11  |  In The Clover

A Perfect Parasol from Sunbeam Jackie

March 17, 2014 6:30 PM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

The Brits accessorize their gardens like no one else and their latest garden must-have is a handcrafted, luxury Sunbeam Jackie Parasol, created by artist couple Charlie and Katy Napier in their 12th century grain store studio in Cornwall. Combining their backgrounds in fine art, sculpture, and costume design, the couple uses antique, vintage and designer fabrics to create these individual works of art, which have been known to pop up like exotic butterflies across the UK during festival season–from Glastonbury to Bestival.

Closer to home, those who are interested in having a Sunbeam Jackie parasol in their own garden can either purchase one from the existing collection of parasols available through the online shop or by bespoke commission. Prices start from £1,450.

Photographs by Charlie Napier unless othwerise noted. 

Above: A variety of Sunbeam Jackie’s parasols lined up against a garden wall sit like ladies in waiting in their finery. The Napiers source their fabrics from a network of specialist textile dealers and create a unique fabric palette according to client preference. 

“Working closely with each client we get to know them and their reasons for buying a Sunbeam Jackie parasol,” Charlie Napier says. “One client bought a parasol for each one of her four children. The fabrics for each parasol were carefully selected by the client to represent each child and now the parasols exist in her garden not only as beautiful functional objects, but also as a manifestation of her family.” 

Above: Commissioned for a summer party, the Scarlet Pimpernel was made from a custom-dyed cotton combined with a floral fabric from the 1950s and is 2 meters in diameter. Photograph by Tim Mercer.

Above: The Madame Butterfly is 2 meters in diameter and made from a combination of silks, floral satinized cottons and a rare butterfly print linen. Another multi-patterned parasol, The Tangerine Dream, is available online for £1,450.

Above: The Peacock of Port Isaac was commisioned for a wedding ceremony in Cornwall and now sits in the garden of the newlyweds as a souvenir of the wedding. Decorated with a deep orange pom pom trim and vintage jacquard ribbon, it is 3 meters in diameter and made from a geometric Liberty print, which is paired with a 1940s Welsh woven linen.

Above: Based around a vintage Laura Ashley print with a broad woven ribbon and pink tassling, the Pink Gin is 2.5 meters in diameter. Photograph by Tim Mercer. A similarly floral parasol, The Serpentine, is available online for £1,450.

Above: The Burford Belle was an anniversary present from a husband to his wife to be used in their classic English country garden in the Cotswolds. It is 2.5 meters in diameter and made from a combination of vintage florals and moss green tassling. 

Above: Details of an antique gold brocade parasol, finished with two different types of decorative trim. 

Above: When open, the parasols perch like exotic butterflies.

Ready to start researching your summer shade umbrella? Start with our favorites in 10 Easy Pieces: Shade Umbrellas. And if you’re not ready to go outside just yet, have a look at Umbrella as Lighting Fixture or try the patchwork look with curtains in DIY: 10 Patchwork Curtains Made from Vintage Linens on Remodelista.