Two Large 20thC Preserved Starfish Specimens

Origin: Indo-Pacific
Period: Mid-20thC
Provenance: The Collection of the late William Owen (1907-1996)
Date: c.1970
One: 14” x 15” x 4” h
Two: 15” x 13.5” x 3.5” h

The large Starfish specimens (Asteroidea), one having five arms, the other with six, each being particularly large and wonderfully decorative and surviving from the late estate of William Owen (1907-1996) and the middle part of the twentieth century.

The reverses to the specimens have some loss as photographed with one having lost a few sections to its back but largely they remain intact.

There are about 1,800 living species of starfish that occur in all the world's oceans, including the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian as well as in the Arctic and the Southern Ocean regions. Starfish possess a number of widely known characteristics, such as regeneration and feeding on mussels and some can live to the age of around thirty-five.

William Owen was a Petty Officer in the Merchant Navy from the age of 17. Through his career within the Merchant Navy working his way up to Captain, helping with the War efforts within WWII. After leaving the Merchant Navy as Captain he went on to become a private Captain based in the Middle East, Shipping a great number of items across the Globe.

While travelling from port to port he made a great number of people, who got to know his fascination with the Natural World. Divers and Fisherman would hold on to various nautical shells, corals and sea life that they discovered or dredge up to pass on to William. After many years of this William’s collection became vast, consisting of shells ranging from 2mm in width to 104cm in width, minerals, fossils, corals, sponges, specimens, taxidermy and more.

His collection was on view in Southampton as a museum, where schools classes, scouts and more would come to view and learn about these items. In 1988 William sold his collection to his nephew, Alec Owen, who would take over ownership and care of the collection.

Brilliantly sculptural and of a real punchy size.