More information and guidance just arrived, courtesy of an email from the very helpful and informative Susan, who curates the costume collection at Hull museums…
Here is her first message:
Many thanks for your enquiry, which has been passed to me as I look after the costume collection at Hull Museums. We do have a collection of mainly late Victorian parasols, although we have no reference to ARCUS unfortunately. I wonder if the manufacturer may be part of the Fox brand, since the running animal looks to be a fox rather than a dog – you can see the history of this company at the following link – http://www.foxumbrellas.com/index.php/company-history/fox-history
It is difficult to tell from the photographs, but does the fabric look like it has a coating? The items looks to me like it may have been used as an umbrella rather than a parasol. The fabric of umbrellas is slightly different to parasols due to the waterproofing process.
As for date, I would suggest late 19th century or early 20th century judging by the style.
You could try contacting the V&A museum to see if they can offer you a more specific date. Alternatively, a useful guide is a book called ‘The Costume Accessories Series: Umbrellas and Parasols’ by Jeremy Farrell.
I am sorry that I cannot be any more specific but I hope this is of some help.
Lovely. Now this fits in nicely to what I found out from Fox Umbrellas. I replied, giving the additional information which came from Fox, and pondering about the likelihood of a tilting umbrella… She replied:
I’m pleased you’ve managed to make some progress with the research. Umbrellas were sometimes made of waxed silk to provide a waterproof surface, so yours could be made of this, but I must admit the tilted frame does sound unusual for an umbrella – only parasols have tilted frames in our collection. Having looked again at the top image on your blog, the size of the item against your hand does also look a little small for an umbrella. It is difficult to tell without seeing the physical object, but I have just checked my copy of the reference book I mentioned and it actually shows an image of an Arcus ‘motor sunshade’ from 1910-20 which has some similarities to yours – it has a cream plastic and ebonised wood handle. I would recommend you source a copy of the book if you can as it is very good at detailing different styles and manufacturers.
Excellent stuff! I’ll have to seek out this book when I get the time…
Best of luck with your ongoing research,