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  • Dutch carved nautilus shell to lead old master sale
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • carvedcenturyengravedfoundhelmmasternautilusoriginatepiecepsshellsignsothebysurvivaltop

Dutch carved nautilus shell to lead old master sale

A Dutch 17th century carved nautilus shell will be the star of a sale of old master sculptures.

The piece displays a scene from Greek myth, the Rape of Europa.

Nautilus shell Sothebys

Master carver Cornelius Bellekin created this astonishing piece 

Clearly, no expense has been spared. The shell is beautifully carved and engraved and has been mounted on an elegant silver stand.

The helm at the top of the shell has been shaped into a visor and coat of arms. This was a tricky technique reserved only for the top end of the market.

Sotheby’s comments: “This magnificent Nautilus is a rare and important survival of Netherlandish shell work.

“Signed by the most prominent master of this craft, Cornelis Bellekin, the shell is of exceptionally large dimensions while exhibiting superb refinement in its carving and engraving...

“Representing arguably the pinnacle of Baroque shell carving, pierced helms are found only in Nautili of the highest quality, and few surviving examples match the size of the present shell.”

The lot will be offered with an estimate of up to £150,000 ($202,779) when it crosses the block at Sotheby’s on December 5.

There’s also an Anglo-Saxon cruciform brooch dating to the 5th or 6th century AD.

It was designed to pin together heavy winter clothing.

The piece supposedly originates from Cornwall, however it's much more likely to have come from the north or east of England as this is where similar items have been found.

It’s valued at £18,000-25,000 ($24,333-33,796).

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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • carvedcenturyengravedfoundhelmmasternautilusoriginatepiecepsshellsignsothebysurvivaltop