A large and substantial gilded metal hair comb in the Spanish style
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 6 ins h x 5½ ins w decorative part (15 x 14 cm) 3½ ins h (9 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1870s - 1900
MATERIALS: gilded brass
Here is a large and impressive Spanish style hair comb made from gilded brass.
It has a high curved heading with a pierced design and has eleven tines to secure it in the hair.
The comb probably dates from the 1870s or 1880s when such ornaments were at the height of their fashion. The final picture illustrates similar hair accessories from contemporary sources and shows the hair styles with which they were used.
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 hairstyles of the mid-Victorian period were large and impressive, with vast quantities of false hair being used to form a huge chignon or, for the evening, trailing ringlets... Therefore the ornaments which were used to adorn them were often equally large and impressive. Large and handsome combs would have been used by a fashionable Victorian lady to adorn the back of the hair, probably being placed above a large chignon. For day they were made of plain horn or tortoiseshell, carved or twisted into ornate designs. For evening, no ornament could be too large or too elaborate.
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Large Victorian metal hair comb Spanish style hair accessory