A striking Art Deco period celluloid hair comb with a tall spiral design
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 7 ins h x 3½ ins w (19 x 8 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
Here is one of those tall pointy combs which are iconic for the Art Deco period. Placed at an acute angle in the hair, the beautiful decoration of the heading would be visible from every angle.
The ornament is made from glossy black celluloid and has an arch shaped heading with an integral spiral motif. The openwork panel has been backed with fine black lace with fine radiating lines of gold thread, emphasizing the spiral theme. The effect is full of drama and anyone wearing such a comb would radiate dignity and gravitas.
This striking glossy black celluloid hair comb is unsigned, but is similar to the more modernist influenced shapes which emerged from Maison Bonaz in the late 1920s. The final picture shows an advertisement for the Bonaz atelier of the later 1920s, illustrating the more angular silhouettes which were produced.
Many of these later Art Deco combs are in pure, abstract forms, with little surface ornamentation for a very powerful effect. The strong contrasting shapes – ovals, squares, or oblongs - show a deep appreciation and understanding of the potential of the material.
More extreme ornaments like this example reflect the qualities of the modernist and futurist art movements, and the aesthetics of the Bauhaus. In Modernism the emphasis was upon the medium, and the process of production, rather than the intrinsic value of the materials, while the Bauhaus was an attempt to combine craftsmanship and high design with mass production.
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