An oversized Spanish mantilla style hair comb in champagne coloured celluloid.
SIZE: 12 ins h x 6 ins w (30 x 15 cms) height above prongs is 8 ins (20 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1920s
large celluloid hair combs like this became extremely fashionable in the early 20th century when there was a vogue for a Spanish look in fashion. The comb can be compared with the final illustration which is taken from the front cover of Vogue for October 1923.
The comb has a high oval heading with conventional design featuring scrollwork and vaguely suggestive of foliage. It is made in a champagne colour in the tines which gradually shades into a warm chocolate brown near the top of the heading. Such large combs were not for the faint hearted and seem to have mostly been worn by actresses, models and for fancy dress.
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.