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Tortoiseshell Comb

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A rare, late seventeenth century tortoiseshell comb, similar in form, scale and material to a well documented type attributed to Paul Bennet or Matthew Comberford, working from Port Royal, Jamaica, between 1673 and 1692.

Large and fine, the comb of an ‘H’ form, typical from Medieval times and thereafter, the teeth on one side made especially fine for the removal of lice, the other side of the comb for wigs or hair. 

9 3/4 in x 6 3/4 in 

The Bennet/Comberford combs are sometimes with their cases, all parts being beautifully engraved allover, often with various indigenous flower heads and scrolling foliate motifs. They are rare and important objects that reflect both European and Jamaican culture, being hybrids that combine recognisable colonial materials and depictions of indigenous flora with an English stylistic form that incorporates social elements such as crests and coats of arms. Described by contemporaries at the time, such as Sir Morgan, as having ‘no value’, a comb being a simple every day, utilitarian object, there are also records showing that those combs were well enough regarded at the time to be sent back to England. Lady Lynch is recorded as sending a set of combs in their case to Lady Arlington in 1682, along with '400 lbs of the best white sugar from Barbados ... and some vanillas'. 



Item Code: 5004

£ 1700

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