Seashells as a Decorating Medium

Closeup of column in Newport Nympheaum


Seashells play a bigger part in decorating than one May imagine.  Did you know that Limestone is made of Seashells?  Marble is a more refined version of Limestone, so also contains compressed matter from the sea.   It’s hard to imagine how much of our Earth was once under water, but finding seashell fossils in the Moroccan desert and the mountains of Colorado or the Alps is not uncommon.

Just as Limestone and Marble are appropriate tools for decoration, I believe Seashells are as well.   They are just a medium, and a very interesting one at that. 

Grottos have been placed on Earth by Nature and by man.  The Blue Grotto in Capri is an example of one from nature. 

A grotto I’ve been working on is in a beautiful Nympheaum being built in Newport, RI on the Bellevue House property owned by Ron Fleming, who is well known for his restoration of town squares and old treasures in New England.  The main part of the work is done on panels–some flat wooden panels and some mesh, like how a mosaic is made.

Grottos have played important parts in gardens of England and France for centuries.  Women mostly did the shell work, or “coquillages,” using their hours and days to make stunning garden “Follies”.   Below are a couple examples of English and Irish Follies that can be visited, and even in Munich, Germany, shells are used as a medium of beauty.   The lesson?  Don’t necessarily let rules guide you.  It’s 2018 and people are world-travelers and sophisticated.  Anything of beauty will be a beautiful addition to your abode.  

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