Dutch carved nautilus shell to lead old master sale

A Dutch 17th century carved nautilus shell will be the star of a sale of old master sculptures.

The piece displays a scene from Greek myth, the Rape of Europa.

Nautilus shell Sothebys

Master carver Cornelius Bellekin created this astonishing piece 

Clearly, no expense has been spared. The shell is beautifully carved and engraved and has been mounted on an elegant silver stand.

The helm at the top of the shell has been shaped into a visor and coat of arms. This was a tricky technique reserved only for the top end of the market.

Sotheby’s comments: “This magnificent Nautilus is a rare and important survival of Netherlandish shell work.

“Signed by the most prominent master of this craft, Cornelis Bellekin, the shell is of exceptionally large dimensions while exhibiting superb refinement in its carving and engraving...

“Representing arguably the pinnacle of Baroque shell carving, pierced helms are found only in Nautili of the highest quality, and few surviving examples match the size of the present shell.”

The lot will be offered with an estimate of up to £150,000 ($202,779) when it crosses the block at Sotheby’s on December 5.

There’s also an Anglo-Saxon cruciform brooch dating to the 5th or 6th century AD.

It was designed to pin together heavy winter clothing.

The piece supposedly originates from Cornwall, however it's much more likely to have come from the north or east of England as this is where similar items have been found.

It’s valued at £18,000-25,000 ($24,333-33,796).

Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about antique auctions.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock