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Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Giant baler (Melo amphora) c.1645

Etching | 9.2 x 13.4 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 804572

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  • An etching of a giant or Australian baler, Melo amphora Lightfoot, 1786 [Volutidae; oddly, not in A&D, but pp. 215-16 for other Melo spp.]. Northern coast of Australia and southern New Guinea, to 500mm. This shell can reach very large sizes and was used both for ritual and practical purposes in the area for many thousands of years. Specimens were thus traded well beyond their natural range, and the presence of this shell among the Hollar etchings does not imply that the specimen depicted was collected in northern Australian waters.

    Copied in Buonanni, 2.III.1, reversed with the addition of a shadow. Also copied (directly, not via Buonanni) in Lister IV.11.1 ‘ad exemplar Holleri’, inverted and reversed.

    See general notes on 804563.


    Probably acquired during the seventeenth or eighteenth century

  • Medium and techniques



    9.2 x 13.4 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Alternative title(s)

    Shell - Melo amphora Sol.

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