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CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 5 ins h x 2 ins w (13 x 5 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s to 1900s
This type of ornament is known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles the traditional high topped tortoiseshell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress.
This example is made in a dark brown celluloid faux tortoiseshell effect. It is made in an asymmetric fashion which is typical of the design at the turn of the 20th century.
Combs like this were worn in a characteristic manner, being placed such a way that the tall heading stood up proud. This enabled them to be viewed from all angles and for the details to be seen effectively outlined against the light. They were often placed at an acute angle.
This manner of wearing the decorative comb is shown in picture 5. This is taken from a contemporary late Victorian photograph dating from the 1890s and shows an elegant lady with a small asymmetric style Spanish style comb worn in this manner.
This delightful hair accessory is made in brown coloured celluloid and gives the effect of so called dark tortoiseshell. By the late 19th century onward genuine materials like tortoiseshell had become very expensive. Therefore most of the hair ornaments which appear to be made of such materials are, in fact, made from synthetics.
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FURTHER DOWNLOADABLE INFORMATION ON VINTAGE HAIR COMBS, HAIRDRESSING AND COSTUME CAN BE FOUND IN MY ARCHIVE HERE:-
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