Evidence of Late Parasol Duelling

Sunday, December 28, 2014 0 comments


An interesting picture.

Dating from the first decade of the 20th century and ostensibly a fashion plate from a magazine.

It should be quite apparent to any Parasol Duelist that this is in fact an illustration of the latest fashion for Duelists. While uncommon by this time there must have been some schools still operating.

Note that the figures are slightly different but would still be recognizable to a duelist from Victoria's time.

The "reverse plant" shown by the lady on the left is a figure not documented under Her Majesty's rules and may have been a local variation. That or a permitted flirtation move perhaps given the gentleman beside her.

Also the twirl has degraded somewhat as it is allowed to rest on the shoulder.

The previously wide interest and popularity of Parasol Duelling is evident in these late illustrations. When one goes looking for them they seem to be everywhere!

 Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

The Parasol Duelling Figures

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 0 comments

An Elegant Display

Here is a magnificent display of the formal Parasol Duelling figures.

They are being demonstrated by the accomplished and beautiful Raven Hawthorne, who competed in the World Championships this year held in Calgary Alberta.

Here she is in fine, and colourful, competition form during the Flirtation Trials at the 2014 World Championships!

The following photos were done to assist the judges in evaluating the formal positions during the Compulsory Figures portion of a full Parasol Duelling competition. I have also included Madame Saffron Hemlock's comments on the significance of each figure in the social life of a Lady.

Here then are the formal figures which all Duels are composed of.

First up we have the PLANT

 Note the upright posture and the vertical position of the parasol shaft in this photo.

Modern Duelling Parasols tend to be short so it is not necessary to actually "Plant" the point on the ground.

The plant is a sturdy position from which to move to other figures and one that can be completed very quickly if needed to counter a snub.

Madame Saffron Hemlock says of the Plant:

"Every lady must at some time take a stand, either in defence of her person or her principles. The Plant says, “This far and no further.” Or, alternately, as if she is Gandalf upon the Bridge, telling the Balrog, “You Shall Not Pass.” But gracefully. And without raising her voice."

Next we have the TWIRL

Something to note in this photo of a proper Twirl is that the shaft of the parasol does not rest on the shoulder but is held slightly above.

The Twirl is an elegant swirl of colour over a Lady's shoulder and makes a great display piece.

The Twirl should be used with care because it takes some time to complete but if started when an opponent has committed to a plant can be successful.

To be considered complete the parasol must complete at least one 360 degree rotation.

Care must be taken to not have the open parasol touch the hat or some judges may subtract points during the compulsory figures.

Madame Saffron Hemlock says of the Twirl:

"A lady in a tete-a-tete with a friend creates a personal space behind her, into which nobody can stick their long nose or their over-eager ears without looking ridiculous. A well-placed Twirl not only frames the lady’s face becomingly from the front and enhances the intimacy of her invitation to a tete-a-tete, it protects her rearward space from busy-bodies and the over-familiar hands of passing cads."

Finally we have the SNUB

The Snub is the most active of the figures.  Note especially the directness of the position, it is important to "aim" directly at the opponent.  The snub must start closed and is then opened to be considered complete.

The Snub is the one figure for which technology has an important role to play. Modern metal shafted and catchless parasols excel in the speed at which they can be opened and closed. This makes the Snub an excellant figure to be used for quick changes if needed to take advantage of an opponent's twirl.

Madame's comments are succinct:

"Self-evidently, a Snub enforces a forward personal space against riff-raff, upstarts, former friends, arch-enemies, and other undesirable persons."

Street Duel figures are similar, with the exception of the Twirl which is usually done to the side given the shortness of the Street Duel Parasol's shaft. 

Thanks again to Raven Hawthorne for her great pictures!

To find out more about this great sport go to:
Madame Saffron Hemlock’s Parasol Duelling League for Steampunk Ladies

For background on the history and development of Parasol Duelling 
or click the Parasol Duelling tag.

The Rules for Parasol Duelling

Keep your sightglass full your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Parasol Duelling Down Under!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 0 comments

Wonderful Competition.

Just received this report of a Parasol Duelling competition held recently in Australia!
A fascinating variation on the standard rules.

Looks like a lot of fun was had under the hot bright summer Sun in Australia.

Well done Ladies and Gentlemen, looking forward to hearing about your next competition!

Keep your sightglass full your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Parasol Duelling
Goulburn Steampunk & Victoriana Fair
Hosted by
The Steampunk Crew of the Airship Sirius
Dec 2014

TheCrew of the Airship Sirius proudly hosted their first ever Parasol Duelling contest at the Goulburn Steampunk and Victoriana Fair last weekend, Sunday the 7th of December 2014. The Fair was a fun-filled event hosted by the Goulburn Waterworks Museum, consisting of Victorian dancing, steampunk market stalls, tea duelling, tours of the 1880s steam powered waterworks, and of course parasol duelling. The event was small but well attended and enjoyed by all. 

The Parasol duelling on the day was hosted by The Crew of the Airship Sirius steampunk group and sponsored by Skav’s Steampunk Workshop. The Crew’s very own Dr John Yardley, ship’s surgeon, was the overseer or referee for the event. The days’ event consisted of; an introduction to parasol duelling and its history; a morning demonstration duel; another demonstration in the afternoon followed by the contest itself. The demonstrations were performed by Inventor aboard the Sirius, Beibhinn O’Donnell, and ships cook and seamstress, Lucia Handcock Dickson. Registrations for the event where taken throughout the day.
Demonstration by Inventor Beibhinn O’Donnell,
and ships cook and seamstress, Lucia Handcock Dickson.
Photo by Steven Shaw
Dr John Yardley, ship’s surgeon,
the overseer or referee for the event.
Photo by Steven Shaw

The rules used for the duels on the day were a modified version of the traditional rules to make it easier for beginners to the sport, and the rule set favoured by the crew due to the confined  spaced aboard the airship. Though the sport is normally an all-female affair the contest was open to both sexes, as there is no gender discrimination aboard The Airship Sirius.

The contest itself had a modest turnout of 12 participants. The contest was played with participants paired up in the usual manor, they then fought the best of three duels, with the loser being eliminated and the winner going on to the next round. Winners then played winners and so on for 3 rounds until only two participants remained. The last two participants were a Gentleman by the name of Simon, and one Lady Madeline, both of the Earthly Delights Historic Dance Academy. The whole event was a clean fought contest with the Doctor only having interject on a couple of occasions, only one parasol was damaged, due to an over excited Snub, and fun was had by all involved.

The final duel was hard fought, with it being extended from the normal best of three, due to the participants repeatedly drawing the same move to their opponent. Finally the match came to sudden death with Simon claiming victory with a well-executed Twirl, beating Lady Madeline’s Plant. 
The winning Move, Simon claiming victory with a well-executed Twirl, beating Lady Madeline’s Plant.

Simon, of the Earthly Delights Historic Dance Academy was then awarded with a lovely commemorative victor’s certificate and a medal, made by Skav of Skav’s Steampunk Workshop himself.

About Gears, Goggles, and Steam oh My!

Here I collect interesting bits of information related to the world of Steampunk.

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