A beautiful late Victorian back comb with elaborate gilded embellishment
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 3¼ ins h x 4¼ ins w (8 x 10.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid, rhinestones, gilding
Here is a very beautiful late Victorian or Edwardian back comb which dates from around the turn of the 20th century. It is made from celluloid faux tortoiseshell with an elaborately gilded heading in a classic scroll and lattice motif. Clear rhinestones are placed at salient points in the design.
The collage picture includes similar examples taken from contemporary photographic sources of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. and shows the fashionable hair dressing of the day.
A back comb is a type of hair accessory specifically designed to be worn at the back of the hairdressing either above, below or within the chignon. It is usually identified by a deep curve made to fit the skull. These combs are usually wider than they are high, and have an elaborate heading or top decorated in some way.
Victorian back combs are usually very elaborate and may be decorated in a variety of ways, such as with balls, cameos, openwork or applied materials. Ornaments dating from the late Victorian and Edwardian periods are usually simpler. They tend to have an affixed gilt metal, silver tone or sterling frame which is adorned with prong set rhinestones or faux gems.
Such combs were popular for supporting the puffed out Gibson Girl hairdressing which was fashionable around the turn of the 20th century. They also helped to support the huge hats of the period.
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