An unusual late Victorian hair comb in celluloid faux tortoiseshell
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 5 ins h x 2¼ ins w (13 x 5.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
Here is a beautifully decorated Spanish style hair comb in celluloid faux tortoiseshell. It has a hand painted design done in white and gold and is further embellished with clear rhinestones. The spiky profile which this comb produces when in wear was a popular one at this period. The collage photograph shows some examples of similar spiky hair accessories taken from contemporary illustrative sources, and reveals the manner and hair styles in which they were worn.
This hair accessory probably dates from the latter part of the Victorian era when these large combs were in fashion. 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.
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. Such combs are worn placed high on the head in order to allow the beauty of their ornamental cresting to be admired.
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Faux tortoiseshell hair comb with engraving and spiky design