A Superb Early 20thC Mounted Natural History Specimen of a Tiger Nautilus Shell


Origin: English
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1900-1920
Diameter: 3.75 inches (the base)
Height: 9.5 inches
Depth: 3.5 inches
Width: 7 inches (all at maximum)

Rod mounted on an ebonised circular plinth stand the Tiger Nautilus coiled, aragonitic and nacreous shell having a logarithmic spiral with a fine colour.

In very fine order, there are no flaws to report other than very light general wear commensurate with age to both the stand and shell.

Nautilus shells were popular items in the Renaissance cabinet of curiosities and were often mounted by goldsmiths on a thin stem to make extravagant nautilus shell cups, like the Burghley Nef, mainly intended as decorations rather than for use, just as we see here. Small natural history collections were common in mid-19th century Victorian homes, and chambered nautilus shells were popular decorations.

This example is no different, and no cabinet of curiosities would be complete without a good smattering of marine inspired interest.