A striking mid Victorian faux tortoiseshell tiara comb with decorative balls
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 3½ ins h x 4½ ins w (8 x 11 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1860s – 1880s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell
Here is a handsome comb in celluloid faux tortoiseshell which probably dates from the 1880s – 1890s.
Although fashioned out of one large solid piece, this has been moulded to render the appearance of the graduated “balls” which were so popular in combs of this period. There are nine of these balls, graduated in size so that the one in the centre is the largest. They are arranged upon the arched heading to give the appearance of a coronet.
The final picture with the collage shows some contemporary examples of these “balls” combs and how they were worn in the fashionable hair styles of the time.
These balls combs were known as “peigne Josephine”. They range tremendously in size from combs decorated with balls as large as 1½inches across to much smaller and daintier ones. They were produced in very large numbers, and are found with balls of pearl, tortoiseshell, gilt ormolu, coral or even carved ivory. Sometimes the balls themselves are elaborately decorated with engraved or inlayed patterns; often the balls are graduated in size, with the largest being placed in the centre or somewhat raised to give the effect of a coronet.
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