A Sailor’s Souvenir: The Fascinating History of the Shellwork Designs

A 19th Century Sailor's Valentine from BarbadosMackinnon Fine Furniture Collection Today we are looking at a fascinating example of decorative arts that has its origins in Barbados and subsequently travelled worldwide thanks to sailors bringing them far and wide. Sailor's valentines are a specific type of shellwork incorporating geometric mosaics of shells within octagonal wooden boxes.  … Continue reading A Sailor’s Souvenir: The Fascinating History of the Shellwork Designs

Irresistibly Irish : A George II Mahogany Armchair

We have looked at Irish furniture in the past on this blog, focusing on the qualities and idiosyncrasies that characterise Irish furniture.  Today we are focusing on one of our latest acquisitions: A George II Irish mahogany armchair. This chair features several hallmarks of Irish design, including the intricate interlaced and pierced back splat, carved … Continue reading Irresistibly Irish : A George II Mahogany Armchair

A Most Curious Natural Art: The History of Shellwork

Shellwork pieces first appeared in the 17th century on boxes and caskets of the late Stuart period with decoration of rolled paper, and by the 18th century shellwork had become a popular craft often carried out by women.   Shellwork represented the growing fascination with discoveries of the natural world which fueled the Age of Enlightenment.  … Continue reading A Most Curious Natural Art: The History of Shellwork

Spotting the Shells: Georgian Furniture with a Shell Motif

At first glance, the following selection of furniture may appear to have little in common, besides the shared country of origin and eighteenth century creation date. However, upon closer inspection, you will see each piece incorporates a carved shell.  Today we will look at why the shell appears so frequently on eighteenth century English antiques … Continue reading Spotting the Shells: Georgian Furniture with a Shell Motif