A beautifully marked tortoiseshell hair comb in the Spanish style
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 6 ins h x 5½ ins w (15 x 14 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1870s – 1880s
Here is a classic tortoiseshell comb of the type which was worn in the mid Victorian period. The comb has a high curved heading and is fashioned out of one large solid piece of the mid brown mottled form of 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 comb has nine tines which are nicely shaped and have no loss or breakage.
The collage picture shows a selection of illustrations taken from contemporary sources which depict similar ornaments and the classic Victorian hair styles with 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.
Mottled tortoiseshell tortoiseshell combs like this, without any form of added decoration, were worn throughout the 19th century. They appealed to older ladies or those in secondary mourning and continued to be worn even when the large and elaborate mid Victorian combs has begun to lose their popularity. Their appearance relied upon the luster and markings of the material for their effect. They were considered most suitable for day wear in an era when a woman’s appearance was not considered complete without her combs.
If this item includes any CITES Appendix I materials documentation and certificates required by law for commercial sale, import or export, have been obtained for this item and will be included with it at shipment.
Layaway plan available for up to one year with payment by installments
Victorian Spanish style hair comb in mottled tortoiseshell