Unusual Art Deco hair comb in hot red celluloid
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear for age
SIZE: 6¼ ins h x 5¼ ins w (15.5 x 13.5 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
Here is a handsome and striking celluloid hair comb dating from the Art Deco period. It is made in hot red colour celluloid and has a high curved heading.
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.
The final picture shows some contemporary examples of similar hair accessories and the elaborate coiffures in which they were worn.
Such large Spanish combs became extremely fashionable in Britain and America during the early 20th century. They were worn in a characteristic manner, being placed in the side or back of the hairdressing at an acute angle, and in such a way that the tall heading stood up proud. This enabled the often beautiful openwork decoration or the decorative effect which had been applied to the material, to be viewed from all angles, and for the details to be seen effectively outlined against the light.