A fine natural tortoiseshell Spanish style hair comb from the Regency or early Victorian period
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 6 ins h x 5 ins w (15 x 13 cm) decorative part 3½ ins w (9 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1830s – 1840s
Here is an classic 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 curved heading and nine 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.
At the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign the fashionable coiffure and the accessories used to adorn it had become extremely complex. The hairdressing had also been growing in height since the late 1820s. Great stiffened loops of hair, often false, were placed upon the crown to give height to the dressing. Acting partly as a support for all the loops of false hair and other ornaments, many coiffures featured a high Spanish-style backcomb placed at the rear of the dressing. In some of these combs the heading might be as much as eight or ten inches in height, so that the form of decoration would be visible from all angles. Horn and tortoiseshell were very popular materials for these combs.
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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