A classic hinged mid Victorian hair comb with elaborate gilded brass heading
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 3 ins h x 4 ins w (7.5 x 10 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1850s – 1880s
MATERIALS: steer horn, brass
Here we have a large and handsome example of a classic hinged mid Victorian hair comb. The comb mount is of steer horn which has been dyed to resemble tortoiseshell in the usual manner.
The heading comprises a curved band made from gilded brass. Mounted upon this are three large interlaced motifs surmounted by spheres or balls, also of brass. The heading folds down over the tines to partly cover them.
The main feature of this type of comb is that the heading is adjustable, being attached to the prongs by a flexible hinge of gilt metal, which allows it to rotate through 90 or more degrees. This enables the ornament to be adjusted to various positions within the coiffure. This feature can be seen in the various photographs.
Combs such as this with a fold down combs are specifically designed to be worn in the back of the hairdressing. They might be placed either above or within the chignon. Victorian hair styles were complex and voluminous, often requiring the use of false hair. These fold down combs were convenient at hiding the place where false tresses were pinned into position.
Picture 9 shows a collage of Victorian carte de visite and engravings from the mid Victorian period and illustrates how these hinged combs could take various forms and be placed according to the fancy of the wearer.
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