A striking amber colour hair comb with distinctive scroll design
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: 1910s – 1920s
Here is a very distinctive looking hair comb from the Art Deco period. The ornament is made with a classic fan shaped heading in an asymmetrical scroll design.
The manufacturing technique known as celluloid overlay has been used here. This is where a differently coloured upper coat is superimposed upon a contrasting lower one, and then “carved” through. This produces an interesting topography of two distinct colours. Here for example a warm brown upper coat has been superimposed upon a translucent lower one. The two tone effect can be seen on the edges of the design and the tips of the tines.
The collage picture shows a selection of illustrations from contemporary sources with similar hair accessories and the 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.
Such 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.
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Oversized Art Deco hair comb amber celluloid Spanish style hair accessory