A classic mid Victorian hinged hair comb in dyed horn with decorative panels
CONDITION: good vintage condition.
SIZE: 3 ins h x 5 ins w (7.5 x 13 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1850 - 1880
This interesting mid Victorian comb has a suitably sombre black and white appearance, and may have been used in half mourning. Victorian mourning etiquette was very strict but allowed the deep black to be relieved by white and or grey after a suitable period. This costume was known as "half mourning".
The body of the comb is made from natural steer horn which has been dyed black. It is provided with a hinge which allows the heading to rotate and thus to be adjusted to various angles. The interesting thing about the heading design is that narrow strips of light coloured horn (or possibly bone) have been affixed to the front by large studs. They form a geometric patter with high contrast to the dark ground.
The final two illustrations show how such combs were worn.
First is an illustration from a Victorian fashion plate which shows an ornament with a similar fold down heading. This would have been ideal for concealing the addition of false pieces which were often required to consyrct the fashionable mid Victorian coiffure.
The final illustration is from a later Victorian photograph and clearly shows the hinge of the articulated tiara style comb. Here the sitter has chosen to wear her jet decorated comb coronet style in front of the chignon, like a mini tiara.
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