by Jeannie Swales
Imagine dancing your way towards the 20th century at some glamorous fin de siècle party with these beauties in your hair.
These gorgeously glittering hair ornaments would have adorned the coiffeurs of elegant ladies about town in the late 1800s.
Dating from around 1895, they are French, made of black glass to mimic jet, which was hugely fashionable at the time, and reflect the fluid fashions of the time, when Art Nouveau with its sinuous and organic lines was at the height of its popularity.
Each one is made of beads intricately mounted on black wire, and none have integral fastenings – they would be attached to the hair with the owner’s own clips, allowing great flexibility of use.
The large symmetrical one would most probably have been worn across the back of the head, decorating a French pleat, bun or similar ‘up do’. The smaller flowers and ‘shooting star’ would more likely be worn at the sides of the head.
The three hair ornaments are amongst a selection of festive clothes and ornaments from the costume section of the Scarborough Collections – all the museum objects acquired by the Borough of Scarborough over the years, and now in the care of Scarborough Museums Trust.
If you’d like to take a better look at them, why not join the Trust’s next store tour on Tuesday December 2? Entitled All that glitters, it will be led by Collections Assistant Julie Baxter, who will look at dresses, bags, shoes, fans, jewellery and other festive accessories held in the Scarborough Collections at Woodend.
Collections tours are on the first Tuesday of each month. Each takes around an hour, and participants are asked to meet at Scarborough Art Gallery at 2pm before heading next door to Woodend Creative Workspace.
Places on the tour cost £3 each, which then includes entry fee to both Scarborough Art Gallery and the Rotunda Museum for a year. Places are limited, so booking is recommended: to book, or for further information, please call the Art Gallery on 01723 374753.
And for further information on the Scarborough Collections generally, please contact Collections Manager Jennifer Dunne on Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org or 01723 384510.