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Wenceslaus Hollar

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) was born in Prague, and in 1636 settled in London, establishing himself as a hugely productive printmaker. During the English Civil War, Hollar moved to Antwerp, where around 1645 he produced a series of 41 etchings of shells. All the shells are tropical species, some from the Caribbean or Africa, but most from south-east Asia. They must have been brought back to the Low Countries by traders and explorers to form part of an unknown collector’s ‘cabinet of curiosities’. The etchings were presumably intended for a book that was never published; impressions are consequently very rare, and this appears to be the only complete set.

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Pink conch (Strombus gigas L.)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Two screw shells (Turritella spp.)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Spider conch (Lambis chiragra)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Tiger cowrie (Cypraea tigris L.)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Horned helmet (Cassis cornuta)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Spotted tun (Tonna dolium)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Pacific partridge tun (Tonna perdix)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Giant tun (Tonna galea)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Trumpet triton (Charonia tritonis)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Ruddy frog shell (Bursa rubeta )

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Snipe's bill murex (Murex haustellum)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Venus's comb murex (Murex pectens)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Short-spined murex (Murex brevispina)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Angular triton (Cymatium femorale)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Prince murex (Hexaplex princeps)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Tuba false fusus (Hemifusus tuba)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Papal mitre (Mitra papalis)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

True tulip (Fasciolaria tulipa)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Australian trumpet (Syrinx aruanus)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Caribbean vase (Vasum muricatum Born)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Ceramic vase (Vasum ceramicum)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Major harp (Harpa major )

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Hebrew volute (Voluta ebraea)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Giant baler (Melo amphora)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Imperial cone (Conus imperialis L.)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Bear paw clam (Hippopus hippopus)