Victorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornamentVictorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornament

A classic cable design mid Victorian hair comb in natural tortoiseshell

CONDITION: good vintage condition with accepted wear

SIZE: 4½ ins h x 5 ins w (11 x 13 cm) decorative part 1¼ ins h (3 cm)

APPROXIMATE DATE: 1850s – 1880s

MATERIALS: tortoiseshell

DESCRIPTION:

Here is a large and attractive Victorian tortoiseshell hair comb dating from the period 1850s – 1880s. The design which spans the top of the ornamental heading, resembling a span of chain or cable link, is one of the iconic features of the large horn and tortoiseshell combs which were so fashionable in this period.

Mid Victorian hair combs and tiaras made from tortoiseshell and horn might appear to be beautifully carved or wrought into fancy shapes, like the example here. However this is not the case, and these complex designs were formed by working the materials under heat.

The collage picture shows several examples of sitters wearing combs of this cable design taken from contemporary illustrations. 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.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

One of the most important characteristics of materials like tortoiseshell and horn are their ability to be softened by the application of heat and moulded into various forms. On cooling the material retains the form into which it has been shaped. It also possesses natural bonding properties whereby small plates may be fused together to obtain larger ones of the type utilized for large decorative mantilla style hair combs.
In comb making this means that various decorative elements intended to ornament the headings could be fused in position without apparent joins, giving the appearance of having been hand carved from one large piece. Its thermoplastic properties mean that material may be pressed or shaped to a basic shape in a mould. It can then be further embellished by other decorative treatments. This is how such elaborate designs were formed.

This item is over 100 years old and therefore predates the Endangered Species legislation. If this item includes any CITES Appendix I materials documentation and certificates required by law for commercial sale, import or export, have been obtained for this item and will be included with it at shipment.


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ITEM ID
DUP20-01-49
COLOR
Brown
FASHION ERA
Victorian
ITEM TYPE
Antique

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Victorian tortoiseshell hair comb classic cable design hair ornament

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