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Ornamental Comb

Ornamental Comb

Inv. Nr: CE2 / 00406

This ornamental comb, from the first quarter of the 19th century, is silver-gilt on the front and plain silver on the back. It also has an engraved drawing. It is decorated by a border of dots and a medallion in the centre bearing a portrait of Fernando VII, King of Spain 1808-1833, surrounded by a laurel wreath, ribbons and a crown in the upper part. The theme of a medallion bearing the image of Fernando VII was very common in the first third of the 19th century, being similar to medals commonly known as ‘fernandicos’. At first, these medals represented Fernando VII but with time they became reminiscent of a Roman emperor or saint.

The ornamental comb originates from the functional comb, and once used, is left pinned into the bun, serving as support for the mantle or mantilla. The immediate predecessor of the ornamental comb was found in the 18th century, when the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum were discovered. This brought with it a genuine obsession with classical decorative art and architecture. Indeed, Roman women used to wear something very similar in order to hold up mantles and veils or as a simple decoration.

Piece on display in the Antechamber, first floor.

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