Yesterday, as you know, I received a shadow box. In the box is a small heart that is partially made of dyed shells that reminded me of something.....
On a family vacation trip to the Atlantic East Coast we drove into Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on an extremely foggy day and as driving was a bit hectic we parked and did a stroll along some of the streets. We came upon a gift and antique shop and of course I had to take a look.
The store had lovely stuff. In one corner there was a display of various sea related Victorian do dads that I poked about in. One thing that did catch my eye was an octagonal box that I thought was a jewelery box. It had beautiful marquetry on the outside and a design in what looked like mother of pearl. I opened it and was completely surprised to see what was inside........sea shells in very complicated patterns.
The shopkeeper sensing a
So you are saying what do these boxes look like......well sadly I don't have any pictures as the museum wouldn't allow them but I did google........I know, but a picture will help to show you what I mean:)
I don't if these are originals or reproductions as I understand that they are pretty rare and very collectible. They were produced between 1830 to about 1890. They were usually octagonal hinged boxes and most were small...about 8-9 inches.....easily portable souvenirs.
The art has been revived and you can get very pretty (and very expensive) modern versions:
I found a book on Amazon called Sailors' Valentines by John Fondas that I may get out of my library just out of interest. It looks like a very interesting book. Here's a view of the book on flicker:
But, I also found that the term "Sailor's Valentine" generally covers any decorative shell work of the period. I found another example in a musuem in Liverpool that's a bit different and I can definitely see that a sailor would make something like this during a sea voyage:
You can see this item on display in the Lifelines gallery at Merseyside Maritime Museum. I've been to the Merseyside museum but I don't recall seeing this anchor:)
I don't know why but things like these boxes are fascinating to me. Shells in general fascinate me.......I have a few in a small collection that I bought at Micheal's. I'm not sure what I'll do with them. They are nice to look at but very fragile which is a bit of a problem.
These boxes are nice ..............maybe:).