A very beautiful Art Nouveau back comb with imitation turquoise cabochons
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 2½ ins h x 4½ ins w (6 x 11 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s – 1900s
MATERIALS: horn, metal, faux turquoise stones
Here is a very beautiful amber coloured translucent back comb dating from the Art Nouveau period which straddled the turn of the 20th century. The ornament is made from partly clarified horn with a broad and narrow heading. To this has been affixed by rivets a metal framework in a leaf and scroll design forming compartments. Each compartment contains a bezel set a faux turquoise glass stone.
The attractive design is typical of Art Nouveau in its more popular manifestation.
The styling is typical of Art Nouveau ornaments made in Britain, as opposed to the more florid French style.
The collage picture shows a selection of illustrations from contemporary sources with similar hair accessories and the hair styles with which they were worn.
A back comb is a type of ornament which is specially designed to be worn at the rear of the head. Such ornaments are usually deeply curved to fit the back of the skull, which makes them unsuitable for wearing anywhere else. Typically they are broader than they are high, and have a top of heading finished off with some kind or decoration.
Combs like these reached the peak of their popularity around the turn of the 20th century when the puffed out Gibson Girl hair style was in vogue. This style required support at the back, for which this type of comb was ideal. Back combs also helped to support the very large hats of the period.
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Art Nouveau hair comb turquoise cabochon back comb