A handsome late Victorian faux tortoiseshell hair comb with silver embellishment
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 5½ ins h x 3 ins w (14 x 7.5 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1980s – 1900s
MATERIALS: faux tortoiseshell, silver
This beautiful comb is an excellent example of the daintier hair accessories which were worn at the end of the Victorian period. Changes in the manner of dressing the hair led to a taste for smaller and more delicate ornaments than had previously been fashionable.
This attractive hair accessory is made from nicely mottled celluloid faux tortoiseshell with three tines. It has a wedge shaped heading which is topped off with a fancy pierced panel on the top right hand corner. This is further embellished nu a silver metal edging having an open scroll design.
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. Any comb which has a high upstanding heading or top which stands proud of the top of the head is often called a mantilla comb. Such combs are worn placed high on the head in order to allow the beauty of their ornamental cresting to be admired.
Fashions in hair dressing changed in the last ten tears of the 19th century. The styles were simpler and a softer, fluffier appearance was fashionable. Along with these softer and more feminine coiffures hair accessories grew smaller, lighter and more delicate. Airy openwork designs, such as those of filigree were popular. Small combs made from metal of openwork faux tortoiseshell were set at an angle into the high topknot. Spanish combs remained popular but were considerably reduced in size.
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Faux tortoiseshell Spanish style hair comb with silver scrolls hair ornament