Spanish mantilla style hair ornament in openwork loops design
CONDITION: good vintage condition with accepted wear
SIZE: 7 ins h x 6 ins w (18 x 15 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1870s – 1880s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell
Here is a large and impressive mid Victorian Spanish style hair comb in faux tortoiseshell.
The comb is made in nicely marked imitation tortoiseshell which closely mimics the genuine article. It has a tall wedge shaped heading with an openwork loop design.
The final picture shows a selection of illustrations from a contemporary fashion engraving 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 ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. These combs became very fashionable in the 1870s due to the debut of the opera “Carmen” which created quite a sensation. They remained in vogue for the next two decades, although gradually growing smaller as the 19th century progressed.
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 shell, carved or twisted into ornate designs. For evening, no ornament could be too large or too elaborate.
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Victorian Spanish style hair comb faux tortoiseshell loops hair ornament
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