A beautifully marked late Georgian or early Victorian natural tortoiseshell Spanish style comb
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 7½ x 7 ins (19 x 18 cm) decorative part 4¼ ins h (10.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1830s – 1840s
MATERIALS: natural tortoiseshell
Here is an impressive tortoiseshell comb which probably dates from the late Georgian or early Victorian period in the 1830s – 1840s. High mantilla style combs such as this were at the height of their popularity during these years.
The comb is fashioned out of one large solid piece of the mid brown mottled form of tortoiseshell. The material is very nicely marked and highly polished. The “tortoise” type patterning is very pronounced, showing pronounced dark and mid brown splodges in a semi translucent lighter brown ground.
This very beautiful example has a wedge shaped heading and seven long slender tines. These tines are all in good condition and nicely pointed, not broken or chipped as in many shell combs.
The collage picture shows a number of sitters from contemporary paintings, revealing the fashionable hair style and wearing similar ornaments.
This type of ornament is often known as a Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles a smaller version of the traditional large shell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. Such combs became the mode in the early 19th century when the fashionable coiffure became extremely tall and elaborate. Combs such as this were used to support the dressing and give extra height. Great loops of hair (often false) arise from the crown of the head back backed up by these Spanish style combs. The final picture illustrates a number of contemporary sitters wearing comb ornaments and shows how they were worn.
All state and federal documentation and certificates required by law for commercial sale, import or export, have been obtained for this item. Proper legal paperwork will be included with it at shipment.
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