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Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

Shell c.1645

RCIN 804575

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The 4,000 prints by Hollar now at Windsor have been collected continuously since his lifetime. While much of his output is workmanlike, Hollar’s 37 etchings of shells are of great sensitivity, and the finest such depictions of the seventeenth century. Most of the shells are native to the Indo-Pacific, brought to Europe by traders and explorers to form part of an unknown collector’s ‘cabinet of curiosities’.  Few impressions of Hollar's shells are known and most show significant plate tone, suggesting that they are proof states towards an abortive publication.