A pretty late Victorian warm brown colour Spanish style hair comb
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 5 ins h x 3 ins w (13 x 7.5 cm) decorative part 2½ ins h (6 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell
Here is a pretty faux tortoiseshell hair comb with a warm brown to amber colouration and a wedge shaped heading which incorporates open scroll work. The design of this pretty three pronged hair comb is typical of the smaller and lighter hair accessories which were popular in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods.
The collage photograph shows some examples of similar hair accessories taken from contemporary illustrative sources, and reveals the manner and hair styles in which they were worn.
Changes in the manner of dressing the hair in the late 1800s led to a taste for smaller and lighter hair accessories than those which had been fashionable for the previous 20 years. The fashionable style was now the “Gibson Girl” look, where hair was dressed out over pads in a fluffy and feminine style with wisps escaping at the sides. With these softer styles the taste was for smaller ornaments, especially those with a light, openwork appearance.
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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Late Victorian hair comb faux tortoiseshell hair accessory
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