A wonderful boxed set of three late Victorian hair combs with damascene or Toledo work
CONDITION: good vintage condition.
Box 6 x 5 x 2 ins (15 x 13 x 5 cms)
Large comb: 4½ ins h x 4 ins w (11 x 10 cms)
Small combs: 2 ins h x 3½ ins w (5 x 8 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1880s - 1900
MATERIALS: steer horn, metal
Here is a beautiful set of three late 19th century combs, presented in their own box. They comprise a large back comb and two smaller companions to be worn at the sides.
The comb mounts are made from steer horn which has been dyed deep amber. Notice too that the tips of the tines are dyed a different shade, which adds an individual touch.
The combs have a wide narrow heading to which is affixed a metal plate decorated by a technique known as damascene or Toledo work.
Damascene is a metal working technique of inlaying gold or silver (sometimes both) into steel. The design shows a combination of bows and formalised flower motifs, and is pointed up with black enamel.
The custom box has an outer covering of mock crocodile skin and a brass latch which fastens well. The lining is white silk and is in good clean condition save for where the lid joins the bottom tray, where there is some separation.
Comb sets of this type are a feature of the period around the turn of the 20th century. They were employed to hold the fashionable Gibson Girl coiffure in place by placing a large back comb and two side combs to support the arrangement.
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