Below is a list of contemporary shell artists and writers personally known to us - each have contributed towards either the creation or promotion of shell houses and grottoes.
Shell artist, sculptor and stone carver. She has attended our lectures and we have visited her at Milverton, Somerset where she has a shell pavilion and woodland grotto. Belinda, an international artist,` specialises in new, contemporary features and their ornamentation such as at Hampton Court, Leeds Castle, Daylesford House, the Topiary Gardens in St Helier, Nantclwyd House, Cherkley Court and Chelsea. She has worked in the States, Greece and Ireland.
Lives in Norfolk. Enthusiastic guide and experienced, innovative international shell artist. We have been led to her work in Denbighshire, at Ballymaloe in Co. Cork, at Daylesford House, Eaton Hall for the Duke of Westminster, and at Cilwendeg, Bocarth, West Wales. Also in Adlington Hall gardens, Cheshire and the Belcombe Court Pavilion with shell maze, Bradford-on-Avon.
American shell artist, decorator and designer who now lives in Pilton, Somerset. We visited Candace in 2017 where her home is full of modern shell artefacts – ornamented shoes, pictures and lighting. She has had substantial commissions in the West Country and exhibitions in The Victoria Gallery and Holburne Gallery, Bath (near where we live). She is a published author on Mosaic work.
The distinguished doyen of modern shell artists, died 2017. We met her at her Avebury home and at Marlborough Mound and a Wrest Park (Bedfordshire) conference. Renowned for her well-researched restoration shell work, notably at Goldney grotto, Marlborough, Hampton Court, Painshill, Mount Edgcumbe, Walton and Goodwood over the last 30 years.
We were invited to Iford Manor some years ago and have met Elizabeth, a trained painter and shell artist, twice. Her shell pavilion is in a walled garden and the shell/mosaic emanations were created from the 1990s. Her narrative, clockwise, tells a story of darkness through to awakening light, with Old English and Greek associations. Other shell work features within her landscaping.
Ginny has been to our home and lectures and invited us to Willsbridge, Bitton, outside Bath where she takes a range of commissions. The high banks and mill on her property have led to an outstanding cascade and decorated shell-grotto being developed since 2015 with her husband Mike. She is a ‘magpie’ collector of glass, mosaics, ores, corals, semi- precious stones and unusual artefacts all of which she employs in individual decoration of a complex, fascinating type. As with Elizabeth Cartwright and work by Blott Kerr-Wilson, her figurative illustrations are intriguing.
His ‘secret garden’ at Serles House, Wimborne Minster is full of curiosities. The shell house is castellated, a shell shrine dedicated to a Pan figure, Jimmy the Merman. We visited 2017 and met Ian again after our lecture to Dorset Gardens Trust.
We visited Ingrid in Oxford in 2017. Her study, The Shell: A World of Decoration and Ornament (2007) is a definitive work. She has researched extensively in New Zealand and has a private collection.
Joyce Gascoigne/Merida Drysdale
Merida is the custodian of the shell work, paintings and sketches by her mother (Joyce) from the 1940s onwards and, principally, with the shell decorated material from the 1960s onwards. Cornwall and Bermuda inspired Joyce, a senior diplomat’s wife, and much of her material is now displayed at Pitcombe outside Bruton. We have provided a body of material for Joyce’s forthcoming biography as a successful artist (exhibitions in Washington, London and Devon) and have enjoyed Marina’s entertaining company and rich collection of material.
Freelance creative shell artist and designer based in Deal. We correspond with Katherine who was educated at Bristol University and Chelsea College of Art and Design. She has been apprenticed to Belinda Eade and Jane Ormsby-Gore. Katherine has done restoration of 19th century shell work at Pitshill, also employing new designs within London houses, apartments and clubs – notably in Mayfair. She has worked also with fossils, tufa and crystals besides decorating shell ceilings, mirrors and chandeliers.
Lives in Terrington, Yorkshire where we visited 2017. She offers “bespoke commissions which include summer houses, follies, orangeries, loggias…” Her complex patterns are classically formal, with a strong eighteenth century feel, rather like Goodwood shell house in Sussex. Her outstanding work is in her rectory garden at Terrington and also at Newby Hall, Rippon where two identical garden pavilions guard the river entrance to the gardens.
It is remarkable to visit the hexagonal shell pavilion at Tresco Abbey Gardens, the work of Lucy Dorrien-Smith after the disastrous storms of 1987. The native shells and blue mosaics have an intense, fresh Mediterranean feel. The building overlooks an ornamental water feature and is approached by a bridge from the derelict Abbey.