A spectacular silver gilt comb and hair pin set in the Moorish style
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: comb 3½ ins h x 4¼ ins w (9 x 11 cm); hairpins 4½ ins h (11 cm) with 3 ins dangle (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1840s – 1860s
Here is a wonderful matched set of comb and hair pins made in the Algerian or Moorish style, which was fashionable in the early to mid Victorian period.
First we have a back comb made with an elaborate applied heading in silver gilt. The metal heading is secured to the comb mount by three metal rivets which can be seen on the back. It has a very beautiful applied design of filigree wire work, featuring whorls, leaves and florals. Each extremity of the heading has a series of chains hanging from it, terminating in filigree tassels with little bells.
The matching pair of hair pins are made with decoration in the same character. Each hair pin has a long metal shaft to pierce the hair and a globular head comprising a hollow filigree ball covered with wire work. Hanging from this are three chains each terminating on a smaller ball, similar to that on the heading.
The collage picture shows a selection of illustrations taken from contemporary sources which depict similar ornaments and the hair styles with which they were worn. This and the photographs with the mannequin show how these ornaments were typically used. They were placed in the back of the elaborate hairdressing in such a way that the “dangles” fell down and cascaded over the chignon. The hair pins are always placed so that the ornamental heading stands proud of the hair by about two inches, for maximum effect.
An important influence, which affected the design of jewellery and hair accessories, was the so called Algerian or Moorish. In the early 1840s the French-Algerian wars led to an interest in Moorish art, and this is strongly reflected in the design of comb headings and hairpins until about 1875. The Crimean War further helped to popularise Turkish and Oriental designs in Britain during the 1860s and 1970s. This “Moorish” influence was manifested in the use of pseudo-oriental and Islamic motifs, such as Arabic writing or interlaced metal work. The use of dangling and curiously shaped pendants, looped chains beads and tassels on combs and hairpins is a feature of many of the more elaborate Victorian combs of the middle period.
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Early Victorian Silver gilt Moorish hair comb and hair pin set
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