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“Stone niche with thistle, lizard and insects” is the title of this oil-painting in the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge [1]. It was previously thought to have been made by Rachel Ruysch, but is now attributed to Elias van den Broeck (Antwerp, 1649/1650 – Amsterdam, 1708) [2]. Dated c. 1690 (1675-1699 [3]), it is a late example of a still life in which two snails can be seen in the foreground.


Upon a closer look, these snails appear to be a light and a dark morph of Cepaea nemoralis (L., 1758). Both shells are dextral, and naturalistically painted. The snails, however, are rather stylised and seem more like an artistic interpretation than drawn after a living specimen.


[1] FWC, inv. PD.45-1966. http://to.ly/xk99.
[2] http://explore.rkd.nl/explore/artists/12756.
[3] http://explore.rkd.nl/explore/images/193283.