This beautiful hair comb was made in Germany and in style probably dates from the mid 19th century.
CONDITION: the front of the comb is in good order. However there are chips and dings out of the rear of the comb at the top right and several of the tines have chips in their length.
SIZE: 4 ins h x 5 ins w (10 x 13 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1850 - 1870
This very beautiful Biedermeier period hair comb was made in Germany.
It has a comb mount with fourteen tines made from natural mottled tortoiseshell. The gilt metal heading is chased into an elaborate surface design with meandering lines having leaves, and forming circular compartments. These compartments enclose floral motifs, each of which has a prong set coloured glass stone in the centre. Two elements in the centre front have a gold floral motif set against bright blue enamel.
The style of decoration gives the whole an embellished "Renaissance" appearance. This is in accordance with the mid 19th century taste from reviving various historical periods in their personal ornaments and jewels.
Combs like this were known as back combs because they were intended to be worn at the back of the head. They are usually deeply curved to fit the skull and have a heading which is typically broader than it is high. The wide heading usually gave scope for some kind of decorative treatment.
One of the characteristics of the Victorian and Edwardian periods was the immense amount of "borrowing" which occurred from other periods and cultures. This affected all aspects of the decorative arts, but particularly the design of jewellery and personal adornments. Therefore we have combs and hair ornaments in the Gothic, the Renaissance, the Algerian styles, and so-on.
What this means is that the ornaments were decorated with designs which were felt to be representative of the period or culture in question. There was no attempt at authenticity, and often the ornaments show a kind of pastiche of motifs which were believed by the designer to represent the particular genre.