Oyster Shell Purse:

From National Museums NI. Oyster Shell Purse. HOYFM.1195.1993

It’s the Victorian era, imagine you’re on a golden beach with the sun beaming down on you. Listening to the tide coming in and out as the seagulls cry. During this time, oyster shell purses were all the rage. These souvenirs were items that were sold for tourists on many pleasurable seaside resorts. The hinges are what holds this purse together and the oyster has been converted by the interior fabric. This allows it to be strong and stay together despite it looking like a very fragile item.

The purse is as shiny and precious as the pearls that were once inside the oyster. The hinges are what gives the purse its Victorian-esque finesse, the circular clip is carved from a single flower in the centre of the delicate oysters. The metal hinges are engraved with a filigree design (very fancy!) and a small clip that closes the purse securely. Your money won’t be falling out of this purse anytime soon!

This piece was written by a participant on our Creative Writing Programme. It was inspired by the above piece, click the image to view it in the NMNI online collection. Read other works from the programme here: Virtually (Re)writing history: A series from our online creative writing programme