A beautiful Art Nouveau or Skonvirke hair comb embellished with sterling silver
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 4½ ins h x 4¼ ins w (11.5 x 11 cms)
MATERIALS: sterling silver, faux tortoiseshell
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1895 - 1910
This is a very beautiful back comb made in the Danish Skonvirke style which corresponds with Art Nouveau in Britain and the USA.
This type of comb is intended for wear at the rear of the dressing and is deeply curved to fit the shape of the skull – hence the term “back comb”. Such combs are usually wider than they are tall and the heading gives scope for some kind of decorative treatment.
Here a panel of sterling silver has been applied to give an organic affect of waves, and a lively sense of movement.
Georg Jensen and his fellow Danes (as well as other Scandinavians) changed forever the perception that silver was the poor relative of gold. They began their mission during a burst of creative activity that produced the so-called skonvirke (artistic endeavours) style in Denmark. It paralleled the turn-of-the-century Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau movements of England and France and gave a radical new look to Danish design. Skonvirke is characterised by curvaceous and organic forms such as flowers, leaves and birds, refined and abstracted in silver. It often incorporates cabochons of amber, malachite, moonstones, coral, and lapis. There is a strong influence of Celtic design.
These pieces resonated perfectly with the preferences of Danish women at the time who were of the increasingly prosperous middle class and were looking for affordable jewelry with a fresh look that did not hearken back to the styles of earlier times.
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