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Faux Tortoiseshell Fruit Hair Comb

Ref: AN-0902-009

This lovely comb is a fine example of a late Victorian or Edwardian comb which displays some characteristics of the Art Nouveau movement, but is not overtly in the mode. Art Nouveau influence is shown in the design which suggests leaves and fruit. By the use of horn, which was a popular material for such combs.

As the Art Nouveau style gained in popularity, a whole class of popular jewellery was mass produced this reproduced the typical motifs of the genre, but was produced by machine and made in materials like celluloid. This pretty comb is made in a faux tortoiseshell effect and although originally made by machinery was probably hand finished.

Such combs were placed so that they were visible from every angle as in the final picture which is taken from a contemporary late Victorian cabinet photograph.

Size: 5½ x 3¼ ins (approx 14 x 8 cms)


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Early 20th Century Steel Egyptian Revival Hair Comb

Ref: AN-1104-017

The oriental theme in costume during the opening years of the 20th century was very strong and was inspired by the costumes of the Russian Ballet. The ballet gave its first public performance in 1909, and its performance of Scheherazade took the capitals of Europe by storm.

This oriental theme led to a style of jewellery and ornaments which we now call Egyptian Revival. They can be recognised by the use of pseudo Egyptian motifs such as the heads of pharaohs, scarab beetles, and other similar motifs. These Egyptian combs are usually executed in coloured celluloid. Unusually this one is carried out in polished steel and besides the obligatory profile portrait it carries a pierced design.

The final picture is taken from a postcard of the early 20th century and shows the popular taste for the exotic. The sitter wears a fanciful theatrical headdress of a style which definitely influenced evening fashions of the time.

Size: 6 ins h x 4 ins w (approx 15 cms x 10 cms) 


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French Jet Spanish Style Mourning Hair Comb

Ref: AN-1104-018

This lovely comb has a high openwork heading in the mantilla style and probably dates from the late 19th century. It can be compared for style with the final picture which is taken from a Victorian photograph of the 1880s.

The comb base is of glossy black celluloid and is literally encrusted with many small faceted stones of French jet. It incorporates both square and spherical jet pieces which are riveted onto a black enamelled framework attached to the tines. It was probably worn by a lady who had entered what is called second mourning.

Victorian mourning etiquette was very strict and required the bereaved to wear plain black with no ornaments for the first year. After this came secondary mourning when ornaments might be introduced, so long as they were dark or black. French jet, a faceted form of black glass, was one of the most popular materials used for this purpose.

Size: 5 ins h x 4¼ ins w (approx 13 cms x 11 cms) 


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Georgian Pierced Gilt Metal Hair Comb

Ref: AN-1104-019

This delicate gilt metal hair comb probably dates from the early years of the 19th century. The final illustration is taken from an engraved fashion plate of the period dated 1806 and shows the prevailing mode, which was based upon classical Greece. In practice this meant a rather simple high waisted gown. The hair was also dressed in classical mode, drawn up to the crown in a small chignon. In these coiffures combs were popular ornaments.

The hair accessories of this period tend to be fairly small and simple in their basic design. They are also rather flat, and not deeply curved to the head as in their later evolution. This pretty example has a fairly narrow heading with a simple interlaced pattern set between two rows of gilt studs.

Size: 2½ ins h x 2¾ ins w (approx 6.5 cms x 7 cms) 


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