On display is one woman’s lifetime collection of dolls and dolls house furniture from the early...
Venus Flower Basket
Known as the Venus Flower Basket, this artefact is actually the skeleton of a deep ocean sponge. It is made of silica, or glass, by the soft-bodied creature living inside.
When the shrimp’s offspring are tiny they escape to find a Venus Flower Basket of their own. Once moved in, the shrimp cleans the basket and, in return, the basket provides food for the shrimp by trapping it in its tissues and then releasing wastes into its body.
This unusual yet intriguingly beautiful cross-hatched specimen was extremely popular in Victorian England, and could easily fetch five guineas, the equivalent to over £500 today.
Did you know? During In a TV series hypothesising a Noah’s ark situation, David Attenborough chose the Venus Flower Basket as one of the amazing creatures he would save!