A pretty late Victorian Spanish style hair comb in amber celluloid
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 5 ins h x 2½ ins w (13 x 5.5 cm) decorative part 2 ins h (5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
Here is a pretty Spanish style comb made in amber coloured celluloid. It has a pierced openwork heading with a conventional design of scroll work.
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.
High topped combs like this were extremely popular in the later Victorian era during the 1870s and 1880s. This was due to the debut of the opera Carmen, which promoted a fashion for Spanish style combs with extremely tall headings. Such combs were produced in a variety of materials from tortoiseshell and silver for the higher end of the market down to horn, celluloid and plated metals for the more popular end.
The Spanish style combs remained popular into the 20th century. However during the last decade of the 19th century they grew progressively smaller.
The collage picture includes similar examples taken from contemporary sources and shows the fashionable hair dressing of the day.
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