New Shop Discovery: The Curious Department

When I was very small (way, way back in the last century) we lived for a while in a house that was made from two cottages that had been knocked together. There were two staircases, one at each end of the house. And, on the wall up the staircase that led to the spare bedroom, was a gallery of framed butterflies. I remember being completely fascinated by them – there were dozens and dozens of them. I have no idea what became of them as we left that house when I was six and I have never seen them since.


However, when I received an email from The Curious Department I thought of them again suddenly, for probably the first time since I was six, as this new company creates pictures using (before you ask – ethically-sourced) butterflies and beetles mounted on either black or white backgrounds with gold accents. They fit perfectly with my aesthetic of something old, something new, something black and something gold.


Chris Shane, the co-founder, said he was influenced by the 15th century cabinet of curiosities as well as the Victorians’ fascination with etymology and his love of Art Deco design.

“We get all the butterflies from resellers who purchase them from butterfly conservation farms across Asia and South America. The farms are all ethically run and provide an economic alternative to deforestation. Eventually we hope to work with the farms direct which will not only be more cost-effective but also ensure we can stick 100 per cent to our sustainability promise.”

mounted beetle via The Curious Department
mounted beetle via The Curious Department

In addition to the pictures, The Curious Department is also about to launch a collection of china. At first glance it looks like an intricate pattern and then when you look more closely you realise it’s beetles posing artistically. The china should be ready in the new few weeks so keep an eye out for it.


Chris also rents out his apartment on Airbnb and is hoping to turn it into an apartment shop eventually so he can showcase the collections.


If you want to see more images then you should follow them on instagram as there are lots of great shots there and that might give you an idea how to style them in your own house.


They would make great, an unusual presents don’t you think, seeing as some of you will, inevitably, be thinking of that sort of thing at this time of year. Below you can see the china. The final collection will have a little more gold on it I believe.


What do you think? Head over to my instagram to see how I have styled my butterfly.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


    1. Hi Cynthia, Do you mean the tall black shelves, or the small glass and gold cabinet and shelves against the teal-coloured wall? If it’s the former, they are from Ikea! The latter are antiques, salvaged from Aladdin’s Cave in Lewisham. There was a second one, but it was so buried under junk the shop owner found it too much of a hassle to sell! Such a shame… Cheers, Chris (co-founder/ The Curious Department).

  1. The butterflies are breathtaking! But the beetly things give me a little bit of the heebie-jeebies, so I have to say, probably not for me. Lovely pics though, and the brass sculpture of the heart is fantastic!

    1. Glad you liked the butterflies Hope! The Gold heart was actually used as a prop in a music video by Little Boots a few years ago.. but in post-production they recoloured it silver… madness!!

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