A pretty glazed celluloid back comb with gilding and rhinestone trim
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 3 ins h x 4¼ ins w (7.5 x 10.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid, rhinestones
Here is a handsome glazed celluloid back comb which probably dates from the period around the turn of the 20th century. The comb has an iridescent pearlized finish whose colour varies between beige and pale amber, according to how the light strikes it.
It has a rectangular heading panel which is incised with a formalised design that is then inlayed with gilding. Clear rhinestones add further embellishment to this very attractive hair ornament.
The collage picture includes examples taken from contemporary sources and shows similar items and how they are worn in fashionable hair styles of the day
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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