collection series #1

so.. i'm bringing out my collections and photographing them. i love collecting --and viewing other people's collections. i mentioned i would start a collections series, so i guess this is the official start. i decided to begin with one of my favorites.  a victorian shell art box, a fishtank, covered with chromolithographs of the sea floor on the sides, and swimming fish inset behind glass on a mercury glass mirror. the top and bottom border of the tank is encrusted with shells of all shapes and sizes. this is by far the most completely whimsical and delightful piece of my small and very cherished collection.

these shell art boxes were often given as valentine gifts by sailors. i don't know if this tank falls into that category but it's definitely from the turn of the century. sadly some of the outer lithographs have crumbled away, but the fish remain in good condition. the interior of  the box is lined with a creamy antique green paper. this is where i keep my vintage shell art jewelry collection. a variety of detailed and delicate brooches and one pair of earrings-- all so very sweet.  i used to find them at flea markets back in the days when i scoured the new england flea markets nearly every weekend.


  1. Unbelievable finds, Kathi--only on close inspection could I identify shells in some of them--some of the others look like bakelite. They are all beautiful.

  2. i love the repitition of the forms-- they have a sort of emphatic undulation.. glad you enjoyed them dawn-- and yes they do look like bakelite-- the colors are similar aren't they?

  3. Wow, These are so intriguing. Such a lovely and unique collection.

  4. what a unique collection, kathi! they're so beautifully intricate!

  5. hi kathi, what a wonderful start for your collection series!
    i am so in the mood for flowers lately and loved the way the shells were arranged in small bouquets.
    and i also loved you new blog design, really sweet!

  6. Oh This is so lovely! I can not stop looking. Love those shells.
    So glad I found your blog!