An unusual parti colour Art Deco hair comb in white and black
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 6 x 3½ ins (15 x 8 cm) decorative part 3 ins (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
Here we have one of those tall wedge shaped combs which seem to have been so popular in the Art Deco period. The heading has a panel of openwork decoration which appears to form the letter “W”
The comb has been manufactured in two distinct shades of celluloid. This is a decorative effect known as “celluloid overlay” where one colour is laid over a contrasting one during the production process. Here, a foundation of cream colour has been given an upper coating of glossy black. This creates an interesting two toned topography when the upper coating is cut through to show the lower. Here the effect can be seen most clearly on the edges of the openwork design.
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.
The collage photograph shows illustrations taken from contemporary sources and depicts similar ornaments, showing how they were placed in the hair styles of the day.
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