Spectacular Algerian or Moorish style Victorian cascade comb
CONDITION: some wear to faux coral balls otherwise good vintage condition with accepted wear
SIZE: 4 ins h x 5 ins w (10 x 13 cm) decorative dangles 5 ins long (13 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1840s – 1860s
MATERIALS: metal, faux coral
A spectacular Victorian Moorish style “cascade” hair comb decorated with faux amber beads and chains
Here is a very beautiful Victorian “Moorish” or “Algerian” style hair comb made from looped chains and faux amber beads. This attractive type of hair accessory is specifically designed to be worn at the rear of the hairdressing, within or covering the chignon. The beaded dangles are in original condition.
The comb mount is made from polished brass. The heading arises in an arch with a series of graduated flowers, each of which has a large faux coral bead set into the centre. Attached to these are a series of looped chains which provides a vehicle for the typical cascade effect. Further chains, terminating in coral beads and tasselled ends, hang from the centre and each extremity of the ornament.
The collage picture shows further examples of such hair accessories and the hair styles with which they were worn. The effect of the ornament in wear can be seen in the pictures with the mannequin. The comb was placed in the rear of the dressing in such a way that the pendants hung down over the back hair and shook when the wearer moved. The final illustration is a compilation of “Algerian” or Moorish style combs drawn from contemporary engravings and portraits of the early to mid Victorian period.
This comb is of a type generally called a “peigne d’Alger” or Moorish comb. In the early 1840s the French-Algerian wars led to an interest in Moorish art, and this is strongly reflected in the design of comb headings and hairpins until about 1875. The Crimean War further helped to popularize Turkish and Oriental designs in Britain during the 1860s and 1970s. This Moorish influence was manifested in the use of pseudo-oriental and Islamic motifs and the use of dangling and curiously shaped pendants, looped chains beads and tassels on combs and hairpins.
The most elaborate examples of Moorish combs were also called cascade combs. They are typically English Victorian comb and contained a “cascade” of pendants. These ornaments were placed in the back of the elaborate hairdressing in such a way that the “dangles” fell down and cascaded over the chignon. Hence the name – cascade comb.
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Victorian Moorish style hair comb with lavish faux amber dangles