** NOW OPEN AT 230 E. 83rd Ave, New York, NY 10028 **

Petite Seashell Mirror
Petite Seashell Mirror
Petite Seashell Mirror
Petite Seashell Mirror
Petite Seashell Mirror
Petite Seashell Mirror

Petite Seashell Mirror

Regular price $36.00 Sale

Petite Seashell Mirror with beautiful multicolor seashells artfully arranged. A wonderful addition to any coastal inspired home. We love it in a guest room, powder room or gallery wall!

*this is a handmade item of natural seashells, imperfections are part of its charm and character, each one will differ slightly

DIMENSIONS: 8" W x 10" L x 2" D ; mirror measure 3.5" x 5"

MATERIALS: Seashell, wood and mirror

FACTS & HISTORY:

Shell craft, also known as shell craft, is the craft of making decorative objects, or of decorating surfaces, using seashells. The craft includes the design and creation of small items such as shell jewelry and figurines made from shells; middle-sized objects such as boxes and mirror frames covered in shells; sailor's valentines and larger constructions including mosaics and shell grottos.

In the 17th century, the exotic shells brought back by the Dutch East India Company stimulated an infatuation for shells that took hold of European collectors. The very wealthy, along with royalty, collected the prized rare shells with great passion.

Dutch merchants opened a market specifically to sell these exotic rarities and newly discovered shell specimens.  The upper classes of Europe collected the shells in their “cabinets of curiosity” {a room outfitted with display shelves and cases} – their private museum – to showcase a costly collection.

The French Queen Margaret, first wife of Henry IV of France, commissioned a shell grotto at Issy-les-Moulineaux. The “Grotto of Tethys” at Louis XIV’s Versailles was built in 1665 as an under the sea retreat for the king with precious stones, shells and mirrors. A century later, Louis XVI had a shell cottage built at Rambouillet for Marie Antoinette.

During the early 18th century, the collecting craze for shells in Holland rivaled the Dutch madness for collecting tulip bulbs. Records show that at one auction in Amsterdam, a shell sold for more than paintings by Vermeer.  The shells were so expensive they were regarded as investments. Famous painters of the era painted still lives of shells, presenting them as a precious and luxurious object.

Shellwork, grottos, and grand scale furniture either covered with shells or meant to imitate shells remained popular throughout royal houses during the next century, but it wasn’t until the 1800’s that shellwork truly came into vogue for the upper and middle classes.

As ships brought back entire cargoes of shells for the whims of the aristocracy, it’s not surprising that covering smaller objects with shells soon became fashionable for upper class ladies of leisure.

Victorian ladies could purchase shellwork supplies on London’s Grosvenor Square. Little packets were sold with shells already sorted and accompanied by printed patterns for forming shell flowers, boxes and frames. To attach shells to a decorative object, the shells were dipped into hot wax or glue, and arranged in fanciful designs. Shell art, or shell work, as it is also called, was a past time many Victorian society ladies enjoyed.