Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gifts of Grandeur: A Silver Comb, 1809-1810

Henry Adcock, Birmingham, 1809-1810
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Several months ago, I shared with you some of the antique combs in my collection. Not for grooming, these combs were designed to be worn as hair ornaments which served to contain a lady’s complicated, upswept hairstyle.

This silver comb from the V&A dates between 1809 and 1810. Made in Birmingham by Henry Adcock, this comb is an exceptional example of the artistry with which these combs were made.

Cleverly crafted, the comb imitates faceted gemstones with its brightly polished cut silver. This style was extremely fashionable at the time. Such a comb would have been worn in a high upon the head, tucked into the hair of a tight bun. The design emulates the look of feather which were a popular adornment of the time, and nods to the symbol of the Prince of Wales—three silver feathers.

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