Wednesday, September 9, 2009

19th c. Shell Frame

The Houston Museum of Natural Science is celebrating its 100th year in 2009. To commemorate this, the museum's curators have chosen 100 pieces from its collections, which serve to highlight the different areas of the Museum.

As a huge fan of vintage shellwork pieces, I love to study the tedious placement of smaller shells as shown in this beautiful frame. Made in the second half of the 1800s at the same time that sailors to the West Indies were bringing back shellwork souvenirs for their loved ones, what impresses me most about this piece is its dramatic effect achieved by a miniature photo in the center of a much larger shield frame, allowing a proportionately large amount of open space to create a beautifully intricate design with so many tiny shells.

Thanks to Steven, who blogs for the Museum, for his ongoing coverage of each selection throughout the rest of the year.

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