An large and unusual leaf design hinged Victorian hair comb in steer horn
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: Victorian Hinged Long Hair Comb Leaf Shape Steer Horn Hair Accessory
MATERIALS: steer horn, metal
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1850s – 1880s
Here we have a large and unusual steer horn comb which has been shaped into a long extended carved leaf motif.
The manner in which the comb was intended to be uses requires some explanation and is best understood by reference to the images with the mannequin.
The comb was intended to be worn as shown on the back of the head, probably within the elaborate Victorian chignon.. When it was in position the leaf extends down over the back of the hairdressing. It is attached to the tines by a flexible brass hinge which allows it to rotate to allow for the bulk of the hair.
Horn was one of the most popular materials for hair combs in the 19th century, not only because the material was cheap, but also because it could be easily treated to obtain a number of decorative effects. It could be dyed a range of colours and also clarified to render it semi translucent. It could also be moulded into shapes, pressed, carved and pierced
Victorian hairstyles were very elaborate with most of the interest concentrated on the back of the head. This is apparent in many of the kinds of hair accessories favoured in the mid Victorian period of 1850s – 1870s. Most of these hair accessories are equipped with a hinge which permits the angle of the heading to be adjusted. Therefore they could be placed within the chignon.
Long ornamental pendants which hang down over the back hair were fashionable. Other ornaments have small hooks or rings on the underside of the heading to which ribbons or lace flounces could be attached - known as a cache peigne.
There was a definite preference for accessories that were specifically designed to be worn in the rear and to hide the nape of the neck.
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