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Why not come and peruse our comprehensive range of natural history titles at our well stocked bookshop, where you can also receive our expert advice. Click here for details of our shop.

The Duchess's Shells: Natural History Collecting in the Age of Cook's Voyages

by Fowkes Tobin, B.

  • Hardback £30.00
  • New Book Availability : In stock
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  • Catalogue No : 28042
  • ISBN : 9780300192230
  • Published : 2014
  • Cover : Hardback
  • Pages : xii, 316

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Margaret Cavendish Bentinck, the 2nd Duchess of Portland (1715-1785), was one of the wealthiest women in eighteenth-century Britain. She collected fine and decorative arts (the Portland Vase was her most famous acquisition), but her great love was natural history, and shells in particular. Over the course of twenty years, she amassed the largest shell collection of her time, which was sold after her death in a spectacular auction.

This unique study tells the story of the collection’s formation and dispersal - about the sailors and naturalists who ferried rare specimens across oceans and the dealers’ shops and connoisseurs’ cabinets on the other side of the world. Exquisitely illustrated, this book brings to life Enlightenment natural history and its cultures of collecting, scientific expeditions, and vibrant visual culture

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