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

Presenting Flora & Fauna: The Natural World in Antique Furniture & the Decorative Arts

We are delighted to announce the launch of our holiday catalogue, Flora & Fauna: The National World in Antique Furniture & the Decorative Arts.  Since the earliest cave paintings from 25,000 BCE, men chose animals as their first subjects for cave paintings.  From then on, the world of flora and fauna has often dominated artistic depictions … Continue reading Presenting Flora & Fauna: The Natural World in Antique Furniture & the Decorative Arts

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