A large and handsome Spanish style comb in natural tortoiseshell
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 6 ins h x 5 ins w (15 x 13 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1840s – 1860s
Here is a fine early to mid Victorian comb in natural tortoiseshell. The comb 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 heading has a broad oval shape with a curved upper border. This very beautiful example has seven finely shaped tines all of which are in good condition.
Mottled 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 lustre 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.
The collage photograph shows illustrations taken from contemporary sources and depicts similar ornaments and how they were placed in the hair styles of the day. The typical Victorian hair style of this period has the hair draped smoothly back from a central parting and coiled into a large chignon on the back of the head. Typically the high comb was inserted above the chignon so that it could be seen from all angles. There are many early and mid Victorian photographs which illustrate how the headings of these beautiful combs seem to rise like a halo from the top of the wearer’s head.
This item is over 100 years old and therefore predates the Endangered Species legislation. 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.
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Victorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic Spanish style hair ornament
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