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A lot of two Victorian celluloid faux tortoiseshell Spanish style hair combs
CONDITION: good vintage condition
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1870s - 1900
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell
Here we have two handsome faux tortoiseshell hair combs from the later Victorian period.
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.
#1 has a curved top and is made in a dark variety of faux tortoiseshell. It measures 5 x 4½ ins (13 x 11 cm)
#2 has a wedge shaped heading and is made in a distinctive tiger stripe. It measures 6 ins h x 4½ ins (15 x 11 cm)
The surface of the material in these hair ornaments is beautifully marked with the typical “tortoise” style mottling and is a very faithful imitation of genuine shell. Many of the later 19th century the hair ornaments which appear to be made of tortoise are, in fact, made from synthetics. Some of them are very convincing and difficult to distinguish from the genuine material, and are skilfully treated to imitate the brown and orange mottling of genuine tortoiseshell.
The hairstyles of the mid-Victorian period were large and impressive, with vast quantities of false hair being used to form a huge chignon or, for the evening, trailing ringlets. Therefore the ornaments which were used to adorn them were often equally large and impressive. Large and handsome combs like this would have been used by a fashionable Victorian lady to adorn the back of the hair, probably being placed above a large chignon.
Mottled tortoiseshell and faux tortoiseshell combs like this, without any form of decoration, continued to be worn even when the large and elaborate mid Victorian combs has begun to lose their popularity. Their appearance relied upon the lustre and markings of the material for their effect. They were considered most suitable for day wear in an era when a woman’s appearance was not considered complete without her combs.
Hair accessories at this period are at their largest and most chunky, and often with high Spanish style headings. The debut of the opera Carmen promoted a fashion for these high topped ornaments, which were to remain in vogue for two decades.
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Gender: Female, Age Group: Adult, Color: brown, Size: 5 x 4½ ins (13 x 11 cm)
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Two Victorian hair combs Spanish style faux tortoiseshell hair accessories
$130 USD SOLD
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