A large and very striking French Ivory wedge shaped tall hair comb from the Art Deco period.
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 6¼ ins h x 4¼ ins w (16 x 11 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s to 1920s
This large and very beautiful French Ivory hair comb has a tall wedge shaped heading with openwork of lace like delicacy. Combs of this shape, especially in asymmetric designs, are typically from the 1910s – 1920s period.
Combs like this were worn as shown in picture 9 which is taken from a contemporary fashion plate in a contemporary French magazine. We can see that the sitter is wearing a similarly shape comb and has placed at a jaunty angle in the hair so that the beautiful openwork heading can be seen from all angles. Her appearance is in the Spanish fashion which was in vogue during the early 20th century.
This comb is of the type known as a Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles the traditional ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. In this tradition a beautiful lace scarf is draped over a high comb which was made of beautifully carved tortoiseshell. The use of the very tall Spanish comb has a very long history of use throughout the 19th century and has never been out of fashion in Spain. Nowadays they are an essential part of the costume used in flamenco and other forms of Spanish dance.
The ornament is made from an early celluloid substance, popularly known as French ivory, because it was invented to substitute for the much more expensive elephant ivory which was becoming rare and expensive by the early 20th century.