An attractive faux tortoiseshell hair comb in the Spanish style with asymmetric flowers
CONDITION: good vintage condition with accepted wear
SIZE: 6¼ ins h x 5 ins w (15.5 x 13 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell
Here is a classic faux tortoiseshell comb of the type which was worn in the mid Victorian period of the 1870s – 1880s. The comb has a high curved heading and is fashioned out of one large solid piece of the mid brown mottled form of faux tortoiseshell. The material is very nicely marked and polished. The “tortoise” type patterning is very pronounced, with well defined mottling of lighter semi transparent patches on a dark opaque ground. The openwork panel of the heading is moulded with an attractive asymmetrical design featuring the iris flower.
The collage picture features contemporary illustrations and photographs which show similar hair accessories and the hair dressing in which they were worn.
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.
These very high topped Spanish style combs became popular in the 1870s due to the debut of the opera Carmen.
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Art Nouveau hair comb celluloid faux tortoiseshell flowers hair accessory