A classic 9 kt Murrle Bennett signed Art Nouveau tortoiseshell back comb
CONDITION: good vintage condition.
SIZE: 4 ins w x 3 ins h (10 x 7.5 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1895 to 1900s
MARKS: 9ct and initials MB & Co.
Here we have a stunning original Art Nouveau hair comb in tortoiseshell, with an applied 9ct. gold design on the front. Made by Murrle Bennett & Co. the comb is marked on the front with the monogram MB & Co.
This lovely hair accessory is made in a somewhat restrained interpretation of the Art Nouveau style which became fashionable in the late 19th century. Art Nouveau was an important design movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is identified by curved and flowing lines and the use of organic themes derived from nature such as foliage, flowers and insects.
Combs like this were known as back combs because they were intended to be worn at the back of the head. They are typically deeply curved to fit the skull and have a broad shallow heading with some kind of decorative treatment. It would have been worn as shown in the final picture which is taken from a contemporary Victorian photograph of the 1890s
Murrle, Bennett and Company was a wholesale jewellers established in London in 1884 by Ernst Mürrle and a Mr. Bennett. Mürrle was a German immigrant born in the jewellery making centre of Pforzheim, and Bennett acted as the English partner. The firm produced jewellery largely in the German Art Nouveau style, also known as Jugendstil in Germany, meaning `youthful style'.
The company likely sold much of their jewellery at Liberty & Co., the London Arts and Crafts emporium, as well as collaborated with famed art jewellers of the day including Theodor Fahrner. Their designs are often characterized by Celtic inspired interlacing elements, stylized foliate forms, pierced geometric shapes, hammering, rivets, luminous enamels and semi-precious stones. The company was renamed to White Redgrove and Whyte after the First World War, due to the repatriation of Mr. Mürrle.
Item ID: A13-02-004
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