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Antique hair comb Victorian carved horn mantilla style hair accessory

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A HANDSOME LATE VICTORIAN MANTILLA STYLE HAIR COMB IN AMBER TINTED NATURAL HORN, circa mid to later 19th century

This comb is part of a large collection of 19th century horn and tortoiseshell hair combs which I recently acquired.

SIZE: 6 ins h x 5 ins w (15 x 12.5 cms)

CONDITION: Good vintage condition

DATE: hair combs are difficult to date since they were often made in the same style for decades. Circa 1870s to 1880s

DESCRIPTION:

This is a very beautiful example of a hand made American horn comb which has been clarified and then dyed deep amber to resemble the so called blonde variety of tortoiseshell. It has decorative treatment which comprises a series of horizontal carved ridges and a scalloped profile.

This ornament is of the type known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles the traditional high topped tortoiseshell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. The production of the opera Carmen led to a fashion for high Spanish style combs in the 1870s.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

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.

This manner of wearing the decorative comb is shown in the accompanying photograph on the mannequin and in picture 5. This is taken from a portrait of the 1880s and shows an elegant older lady wearing a high topped mantilla style hair comb of similar type.

Horn was one of the most popular materials for hair combs in the 19th century because the material could be easily treated to obtain a number of decorative effects. It could be dyed a range of colours, the most popular being tortoiseshell effect. Horn could also be clarified so as to be almost translucent. This gives it the attractive colour of honey, and is a feature of many combs of the early American period.

The early horn comb making industry in the USA was concentrated around the town of Leominster and is very well documented in local archives. Detailed information on horn comb making can be found in “The Comb” by Jen Cruse, 2007.


Find vintage jewelry and fabrics in our other shop:-

http://www.etsy.com/shop/DragonsLairVintage

FURTHER DOWNLOADABLE INFORMATION ON VINTAGE HAIR COMBS, HAIRDRESSING AND COSTUME CAN BE FOUND IN MY ARCHIVE HERE:-

http://www.haircomb.co.uk/Haircombs.html

PLEASE NOTE: This link is “Etsy legal” and leads only to a document resource with no merchandise for sale.

Antique hair comb Victorian carved horn mantilla style hair accessory

Overview

  • Vintage item from the 1800s
  • Material: horn
  • Feedback: 1408 reviews
  • Ships worldwide from Basingstoke, United Kingdom
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