The du Pont Trophy 2018-07-31T13:47:44+00:00

The du Pont Trophy

On the edge of science, collections and art: the du Pont Trophy paintings, original works by artist Lauren Sweeney, honor outstanding exhibits at shell shows

The specimens found in natural history collections straddle the edge between art and science.  Collectors may be inspired to pick up a shell and put it in their pocket because it strikes them as beautiful.  But with the addition of some simple data such as date and location, the shells become a record of biodiversity and an essential scientific resource.

The inspiration for the 2016 du Pont Trophy

The inspiration for the 2016 du Pont Trophy

Shells in the research collection of the Delaware Museum of Natural History are the artistic inspiration for the du Pont Trophy, an award given at shell shows for the overall outstanding exhibit. In 2012, the Trophy was reimagined as a print of shells from the research collection.  The original, commissioned watercolors that are the basis for the 2012-2018 trophies  are pictured below.

DMNH Executive Director Halsey Spruance, artist Lauren Sweeney and DMNH Curator of Mollusks Liz Shea at an exhibition of the du Pont Trophy paintings as part of the November 2015 Art Loop.

DMNH Executive Director Halsey Spruance, artist Lauren Sweeney and DMNH Curator of Mollusks Liz Shea at an exhibition of the du Pont Trophy paintings as part of the November 2015 Art Loop.

Artist’s Bio: Lauren Sweeney’s paintings are inspired by a lifetime of scientific observation.  Originally a biologist who focused her talents on research, teaching, and technical illustrations, Lauren is now a full-time artist who has exhibited her work in the greater Philadelphia area. In early February 2016 she will be showing her work at The Burrison Alumni Art Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania.  In addition, her work has been exhibited at the Delaware Museum of Natural History, the Sketch Club, Gallery Twenty Two, and the Main Line Art Center.  For more information about the artist, visit http://inliquid.org/complete-artist-list/sweeney-lauren/.

Purchase: If you are interested in purchasing one of these original watercolors for the du Pont Trophy award, please contact Elizabeth Shea at 302-658-9111 x319 or eshea@delmnh.org.  Framed watercolor paintings are $650 each, and all sales support Collections and Research at the Museum.

2012

2012 Festilyria duponti holotype Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2012 Festilyria duponti holotype

Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2013

2013 Scaphella junonia on sand Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2013 Scaphella junonia on sand

Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2014

2014 Spondylus with data label Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2014 Spondylus with data label

Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2015

2015 Leporicypraea mappa variation Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2015 Leporicypraea mappa variation

Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2016

2016 Anodonta imbecilis from Florida Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2016 Anodonta imbecilis from Florida

Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2017

2017 Liguus crenatus variation Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2017 Liguus crenatus variation

Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2018

2018 Haliotis fulgens with data label Artist: Lauren Sweeney

2018 Haliotis fulgens Philippi with data label

Artist: Lauren Sweeney

The pearlescent marine sea snail abalone is the inspiration for the 2018 du Pont Trophy, featuring two specimens of the green abalone Haliotis fulgens Philippi, 1845 (DMNH 10958). These specimens have a beautiful nacreous layer and were selected by the Museum’s first Mollusk Curator, R. Tucker Abbott, for illustration in the second edition of American Seashells, published in 1974, an essential resource for shell lovers and an important part of the Museum’s history.