These shellwork pictures are in a tradition of princely collecting that made little distinction between science and art. Such works were favoured by the early connoisseurs who would display contemporary works of art and antiquities alongside 'Naturalia', such as rare shells, precious coral and other wonders of the natural world, in a Kunstkammer or cabinet of art. By the 18th century shellwork was fashionably employed by the European nobility in their creation of whimsical shell-encrusted grottos in imitation of the water-caves of Greco-Roman mythology, and such colourful grottos are preserved at the Château de Vendeuvre, Normandy and Goodwood House, West Sussex. From this time it became au goût du jour for ladies to practice the arts of feather-, shell- and quillwork as a hobby in the manner of embroidery and découpage. The present pictures, unusually large in scale and depicting charmingly modeled Labrador Retrievers, are fine examples of this art.