A pretty celluloid faux tortoiseshell back comb with a gilded tulips design
CONDITION: some wear to gilding otherwise good vintage condition
SIZE: 3 ins h x 4 ins w (7.5 x 10 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid, gilding
Here is a handsome celluloid faux tortoiseshell back comb which probably dates from the period around the turn of the 20th century.
It has a broad curved heading showing an incised design representing the flower tulip with its foliage. The engraved lines are in filled with gilding to emphasize the design. The asymmetric nature of the execution shows Art Nouveau influence.
A back comb is. As its name implies, a type of hair accessory specifically designed to be worn at the rear of the hairdressing. It may be placed above, below or within the chignon according to the fancy of the wearer. It is usually identified by a deep curve made to fit the skull. Such combs are usually wider than they are high and often have an elaborate heading or top decorated in some way.
At the turn of the 20th century the hair was worn in a distinctive puffed out style which has become familiar from the drawings of Charles Dana Gibson. This is known as a Gibson Girl or Pompadour style, and often incorporated the use of underlying pads and false hair. It was supported at the back of the head and sometimes at the sides as well by wide hair combs, which might be as plain or as fancy as the wearer desired. These combs also helped to support the huge hats of the late Victorian and Edwardian period.
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