A beautiful early to mid 19th century gilt ormolu comb with figural peacock in the Anglo Indian style.
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 5¼ ins h x 4½ ins w (13.5 x 11 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1840 – 1860s
MATERIALS: Gilt ormolu, glass stones
Here we have a lovely ormolu metal hair comb made in the distinctive Anglo Indian style.
The interaction of the Indian population with their British rulers led to an art form, which was a mixture of styles; one which we now call Anglo-Indian. This is because the object produced under this influence were not the kind which the indigenous population themselves would have used. Nevertheless they showed elements of what was considered an “Indian” style, carefully adapted to suit European tastes.
Here we have the use of a very distinctive Indian motif, the peacock, set in the centre of the heading. The peacock is the national bird of India and is found everywhere in the textile and applied arts of that country. The bird is flanked by two rather busty cherubs, who have small wings sprouting from their backs. An arch composed of flowers and leaves surmounts the design, which is further embellished with glass jewels in red, blue and green. These stones are set deeply into their mounts in the traditional Indian fashion.
In the 1870s Queen Victoria became Empress of India and this led to an influx into Europe of ornaments made in India for the Western market. Fine metalwork is traditional in India, but a genre of ornaments was produced for the Western market, which was strictly for export. The form of these ornaments echoes much of the Indian and Indian influenced jewellery, which was produced at this period.
These ornaments were made with “oriental” style motifs, such as lotus, dragons, fabulous birds, phoenix, etc, but in a style which was not native to the lands in which they were produced. We find these imported ornaments in a wide variety of materials and styles, such as carved ivory and tortoiseshell, metal filigree, granulation, and gilt metal repousee sometimes set with coloured stones. They are an interesting example of an era, and of how personal adornment was influenced by travel to other lands and cultures.
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