Early Victorian coin silver hair ornament in the Moorish style
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 4 ins h x 5 ins w (10 x 13 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1830s – 1840s
MATERIALS: silver, crystals
This hair comb was purchased from a private collection of museum quality hair accessories and jewellery.
Here is a very beautiful Victorian “Moorish” or “Algerian” style hair comb made from dangling 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.
This comb mount is of silver tone metal To this is affixed an arched piece of silver tone metal which is surmounted by a an arrangement of graduated circles set in an arc, with the largest being placed in the centre. Each of these circlets is further embellished by engraved designs. Pendant from each extremity of the heading are gilt tassels trimmed with large faux amber beads.
Mid Victorian hairstyles were very elaborate. In general the hair was draped smoothly over the ears with most of the interest concentrated on the back of the head. Masses of false hair were worn in order to construct the elaborate coiffures. Combs such as these would have been very effective at concealing the place where these false tresses were added in. 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.
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Victorian silver Moorish style hair comb with coral dangles