A blonde steer horn hair comb with filigree metal decorative trim
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 4½ x 2½ ins (11 x 6 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s - 1900
MATERIALS: steer horn, metal
This pretty little hair comb has a base of clarified steer horn, with two long tines to pierce the hair. The wedge shaped heading is overlaid by a filigree brass plate, with a formalised design of flowers and scroll work. Set along the top of the heading are a series of seven brass balls which are graduated in size to place the largest in the centre.
Here is an example of the smaller and lighter looking hair accessories which became fashionable in the period approaching the turn of the 20th century. Changes in dressing the hair led to a reaction against the very large mantilla style hair accessories which had been fashionable for the past two decades,
This type of ornament is often known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles a smaller version of the traditional large shell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. In practice any comb which has a high upstanding heading or top which stands proud of the top of the head is often called a mantilla comb.
Although the comb here takes the “Spanish” form it is smaller and daintier than the kinds of ornaments which have been fashionable for the previous two decades. New ways of dressing the hair in a softer and more feminine style has led to a reaction against the large chunky combs of the mid Victorian era. The taste now was for smaller ornaments with a light and delicate appearance. Filigree metal, such as we see on the heading of this pretty hair accessory, was popular on that account.
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