The Shell

The Shell

A World of Decoration and Ornament

  1. Ingrid Thomas
  • ISBN 9780500513576
  • 31.00 x 23.80 cm
  • Hardback
  • 256pp
  • 526 Illustrations, 507 in colour
  • First published 2007
‘I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everybody who appreciates shells, to artists as a source of inspiration and to all those who simply appreciate beautiful things’ – The British Shell Club
‘Filled with one exquisite image after another, glorious colour plates illustrating everything to do with shells’ – Publishing News
‘Anyone interested in the beauty of shells and how they have been incorporated in works of art, will relish, respect and revere this book – a work of art in itself … the best book available on shell art’ – Reference Reviews

This is the most comprehensive and inspirational volume ever published on the extraordinary world of shells, including a worldwide directory of shell collections and grottos and a photographic glossary of shells

Shells have been put to an amazing array of uses – as decoration, tools, medicines and musical instruments. For nearly four millennia, millions of them were used acros the world as currency. Shells have been worn as amulets to bring fertility, good fortune or protection from the evil eye.

The beauty of shells has fired the imaginations of artists and craftsmen, and their work forms the lavish heart of this book, from the simplest beads to designs in gold and precious stones, silverware, ceramics, glass, textiles, furniture and fashion.

Shells encrusted the garden grottos and pavilions of the 17th and 18th centuries, and in the 20th century influenced the forms of landmark modernist and post-modernist buildings.

Some shells are so coveted that specimens can raise staggering sums at auction. Ingrid Thomas explores this history of shell collecting, and explains how shells can be collected responsibly today without harming our marine environments.

After working at Oxford University, Ingrid Thomas has travelled the world in search of shells to add to her considerable collection. Her interest led to several years of research into their influence throughout history. She has also had several exhibitions of her shell artwork.