The smells of old paper, curtains, and metals envelop you as you peek into the neighborhood pawn shop. Treasures of past lives line the shelves as you aimlessly wander between the aisles. A bright burst of sun catches your eye, so you pursue the source until finding yourself in the very back corner of the shop. The pearlescent shell gleams brightly as you take in the surrounding objects.
Rose Hartwell gives us the tools to create our own story of the treasures found in A Corner Window in a Pawn Shop (1893). While contemporary artists focused on high-society life, Hartwell displays an assemblage of seemingly random objects. This casual approach to art allows the audience to choose the most intriguing object for themselves and give it personal value, much like their experience would be in an actual pawn shop.