Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. decoration made from patterns of shells

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Work composed of shells, or adorned with them.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Ornamental work made up of marine shells, usually small, combined in various patterns and glued to a surface, as of wood or cardboard. See sea-bean, 2.
  • n. In decorative design, especially carved or modeled, a motive which imitates or is suggested by the forms of shells.

Etymologies

shell +‎ work (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Rooms come with handsome chimneypieces and exquisite shellwork, and there is a turret-top eyrie for ship-watching.

    You're the king of the castle

  • Her small bedroom was decorated with cheerfully embroidered samplers, which she had stitched herself, and a shelf containing an intricate shellwork tableau.

    The Thief Taker

  • The Prince still said nothing, only sat, among his gold and shellwork incense-burners, while the images of the twenty-one Old Gods watched his round, pink satin back.

    The Silent Tower

  • This vapor rising around the stem of the plant, and attracted by it, becomes congealed into what we term hoar-frost, in numerous forms; some like shellwork, others like tulips, with radiated petals, variously contorted, and often as symmetrical as snowflake crystals.

    Scientific American, Volume XXXVI., No. 8, February 24, 1877 A Weekly Journal of Practical Information, Art, Science, Mechanics, Chemistry, and Manufactures.

  • Chandeliers and lamps may also be disfigured by obtrusive shellwork or want of all symmetry, or may amid great decorativeness be kept within reasonable limits.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 13: Revelation-Stock

  • This style received its name in the nineteenth century from French émigrés, who used the word to designate in whimsical fashion the old shellwork style (style rocaille), then regarded as Old Frankish, as opposed to the succeeding more simple styles.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 13: Revelation-Stock

  • You know there's always a new fashion o 'frames comin' round: first 'twas shellwork, and then 'twas pine cones, and beadwork's had its day, and now she's much concerned with perforated cardboard worked with silk.

    The Queen's Twin

  • She knows French, musick, and drawing, sews neatly, makes shellwork, and can milk cows; in short, she can do every thing.

    Life of Johnson

  • We tried to forget the monstrosities of the château garden and to remember only the beauty and the rich luxuriance of its trees and the many flowering vines that clambered all over the shellwork terraces, as if striving to conceal their rococo ugliness.

    In Château Land

  • These remarkable creations are so utterly tasteless, with masses of bristling shellwork and crude, ungainly statues, that we wondered how anything so inartistic could find a home upon Italian soil.

    In Château Land

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