A fine Regency or late Georgian gilded metal hair comb with carved coral cabochons
CONDITION: good vintage condition with no missing or damaged corals.
SIZE: 4 ins h x 4 ½ ins w (10 x 11 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1800s – 1830s
This is a lovely late Georgian or Regency period mantilla style comb made from fire gilded brass. It is in excellent condition and still has its original comb mount with all tines intact.
The comb mount comprises a curved openwork heading of brass with an openwork double gallery of fire gilded brass. The lower gallery has an openwork design of fern heads and florets all inclined to the right. Above this is placed a row of coral beads which are strung upon fine brass wire. This row of corals is surmounted by a further gallery with swags of leaves, connecting upstanding spikes. Each spoke is topped off by a carved coral cabochon. The corals are graduated in size with the largest placed in the centre in the traditional manner.
This ornament may originally have been part of a set, consisting of a matching comb and tiara in a fitted case. The usual metal for them was silver, or silver gilt, (which is sterling silver which has been over-gilded), or as in this case, fire-gilt brass. This is nowadays usually given the name Pinchbeck. This metal gives the appearance of gold because it does not tarnish, although in fact it contains no gold at all.
This comb was probably of French origin, since it is larger and more elaborate than the usual run of ornaments worn in Britain at this time. In France, where most of these decorative tiara combs were produced, it was possible to secure matching sets of combs and tiaras. Faux pearls, coral and various colored semi precious gemstones or pastes were the favorite modes of decoration.
The final picture contains illustrations from contemporary sources showing similar examples of combs and how they were placed in the classical Grecian style coiffure which was then in vogue.
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