Decorated Turbo Marmoratus Shell

Shows Maiden Voyage of the Steamship Great Eastern

zoomable artifact image here


A decorated shell of turbo marmoratus, a gastropod known as the green turban snail, native from South and East Africa to the Indo-Pacific.  The outer layer of the shell is stripped to the iridescent nacre or 'mother of pearl' layer, carved or etched with an illustration commemorating the maiden voyage of the sidewheel steamship Great EasternThe vessel is shown above a spread eagle bearing a ribbon with the name of the  vessel. Above, there are details giving the size of the vessel.  At left center:  "Designed by J. K. Brunel / Built by J. Russell"; in center: "first trip across the Atlantic arrived at New York 28 June 1860"; at right:  "Purchased on board / by / Lewis Hotchkiss / and most affectionately present / ed to his wife Eliza / Executed with a penknife / on board by C. Wood/ 10th July 1860."; the artist thought to be Charles H. Wood (b. England circa 1820), working on board vessels 1850-1870 and selling his work dockside in New York and Australia.