A pretty fleur de lys design two pronged comb or hair pin from the late Victorian period
CONDITION: slight loss of coloured enamel otherwise good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 5 ins h x 1¼ ins w (13 x 3 cm) decorative part 1¼ ins h (3 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid, metal
This beautiful hair ornament is an excellent example of the smaller and daintier hair accessories which were worn at the end of the Victorian period.
It is a two pronged comb or hair pin with a comb mount of steer horn which has been dyed a deep translucent amber. The heading is of gilded metal, in the form of a fleur de lys. It is further embellished with cloisonné work and coloured enamel in red, blue and green. This gives this pretty little ornament a distinctive Gothic appearance, as if it had come straight out of medaeval heraldry.
The collage picture includes similar examples of small hair accessories taken from contemporary photographic sources and shows the fashionable hair dressing of the day for the late Victorian period.
Fashions in hair dressing changed in the last ten tears of the 19th century. The styles were simpler and a softer, fluffier appearance was fashionable. Along with these softer and more feminine coiffures hair accessories grew smaller, lighter and more delicate. Airy openwork designs, such as those of filigree were popular. Many of these small two pronged combs were produced in various materials.
The English translation of "fleur-de-lis" (sometimes spelled fleur-de-lys) is "flower of the lily." The motif is commonly believed to represent a lily, signifying purity. This symbol, depicting a stylized lily or lotus flower, has many meanings. Traditionally, it has been used to represent French royalty, and in that sense it is said to signify perfection, light, and life. Today it remains a potent symbol of French nationalism. Due to its three "petals," the fleur-de-lys has also been used to represent the Holy Trinity. The fleur-de-lys motif is, however, most commonly associated with the Royal Arms of France and European heraldry in general.
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