The Age of Enlightenment was a period of great intellectual, scientific, and cultural advances that took place in Europe during the 1700s. A key component of Enlightenment thinking was a focus on the natural world and its unending possibilities. Shellwork, or the art of decorating and collecting shells, was a particularly popular activity during this period and represented a growing fascination with the natural world.

Shellwork was a popular topic of conversation for some of the most influential figures of the Enlightenment, such as famous scientist Carl Linnaeus. Linnaeus, who developed modern taxonomy, was a great admirer of shells and wrote extensively about them in his works. Shells of the time were thought to have medicinal properties and were believed to bring luck. Shellwork was seen as a way to explore the wonders of the natural world and understand the many fascinating creatures within it.

The craze around shellwork was also reflected in the artwork of the time. Many painters and sculptors of the Enlightenment period painted or sculpted shells or sea creatures, or used shells as a way to decorate their works. This was a way to explore the beauty of the natural world, and it was an important part of the Enlightenment’s focus on the potential of science and the wonders of nature.

Shellwork was a reflection of the growing fascination with the natural world during the Enlightenment period. It served as a way to explore and appreciate the beauty and possibilities of the natural world and was a key part of the intellectual and cultural advancement of the time. It is a testament to the influence of the Enlightenment that shellwork continues to be practiced and appreciated today.


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