A handsome late Georgian or early Victorian cameo hair comb
CONDITION: the tines have some contemporary repair and are very delicate otherwise good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 5 ins h x 3 ins w (13 x 7.5 cm) decorative part 2 ins h (5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1830s – 1840s
MATERIALS: horn, metal, cameos
Here is a very handsome comb dating from the early Victorian period.
The comb base is made from steer horn with a high curved heading which is covered in gold tone metal. Decorating this are two classical “Greek” cameos which appear to me made from glass or ceramic rather than hard stone. The ornament and does have some contemporary repairs to the back of the tines which make it rather fragile.
Cameos are one of those ornaments, which we tend to think of as typically Victorian. However, their popularity during that period derives from the fact that travel had now become much easier for the wealthy middle classes, who were beginning to take the early Thomas Cook’s tours of Europe. These early travellers brought back souvenirs in the form of coral and cameos from Italy. Cameos were soon being imported in bulk into England, where they were mounted in gold, or gilt metal for the cheaper quality. They became so popular that the cameo form appeared in various other materials, such as moulded glass, ceramic or enamel, which supplied the desire for a classical ornament in those who has less ample purses.
This is an interesting example of how travel has influenced the design of personal ornaments and hair accessories.
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Late Georgian steer horn hair comb with cameos hair accessory