One of the readers of my blog sent me a photograph of this object because, though she had inherited it, she had no idea what it was. She had been told it had been made by a man her grandmother knew and that it was old.
So, here’s the problem about just getting a photograph. First, it’s important to have dimensions of an object in order to put it into context and such information would have been useful right from the beginning. I thought about what she said about it being made by hand and doubted this was the case because it simply wasn’t crude enough. By this I mean that the metalwork looked too clean for a handmade piece. This is not to take away from the ability of some amazing craftsmen (or women) but I had seen this type of metalwork on other antique objects.
I began to search the internet for objects made of such shells, and mostly what came up were small lamps. Finally the reader got back to me with dimensions and that there was a bell inside the object. That made all the difference. In very little time my instincts were rewarded by discovering three other such objects. They were not handmade and their values varied from $400 to over a thousand dollars.
Here’s what I found. It’s a Victorian (19th century) dinner bell which would have been found primarily in wealthier homes. As you can see from the image above, my reader’s bell was missing its bird ‘finial’ on top. She was, however, pleased to learn what she had and said she would treasure it even more.
I have to admit I love the ‘sleuthing’ part of finding what objects are, and the 19th century is full of interesting things that would be foreign to most of us.
This is the 4th “What Am I” in this blog. Check out the other three and see if you can guess what the objects are.