A handsome celluloid faux tortoiseshell back comb from the late Victorian or Edwardian period
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear for age
SIZE: 4 ins h x 4½ ins w (10 x 11 cm) decorative part 1½ ins h (4 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell
Here is a handsome back comb made in celluloid faux tortoiseshell. It has a rectangular heading decorated with panels of open scroll work and probably dates from the period around the turn of the 20th century.
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 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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