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The Penrose Shell Cabinet

Have you been to see Elizabeth Penrose’s shell cabinet, on display in the Bishop’s Palace, the Georgian history of Waterford Treasures? Here is a sneak peek to entice you to do so!

It is a fantasy shell grotto in a mahogany cabinet, made by Elizabeth Penrose (born 1779), the daughter of William and Rachel Penrose. Elizabeth was an accomplished needlewoman and around 1799 started work on an this ambitious project. Elizabeth created it more than 200 years ago using shells collected in Tramore and along the estuary of the river Suir. The petals of the flowers are made from shells, hand-tinted with watercolour. The bevelled mirrors and the glass menagerie - swans, dogs, deer, sheep and a peacock - were made for Elizabeth in the Waterford Glass Works.