Von Ostini records that the Nautilus was one of the first sculptural works created by Stuck, pre-dating the Glaspalast exhibition in Munich in 1892 (when he displayed the famous Athlet) and finding its origins in two illustrations that Stuck designed in the 1880s: firstly a drawing for the Allegorien und Embleme portfolio published by Gerlach & Schenk, Vienna 1882/84, vol. 2, no. 82; and secondly for a calendar illustration for the month of October published in the Fliegende Blatter, 1889, no. 2306.
Stuck himself owned a bronze version of the present model which mounted a real nautilus shell and appears as a prop in some of his paintings. It stood on his living-room cabinet until 1909 (see Bierbaum, op. cit., p. 79). The Villa Stuck museum owns a similar version to the present example (inv.no. P941-1).
O. J. Bierbaum, Franz Stuck, Munich, 1893, p. 79; F. von Ostini, 'Franz Stuck' in Nord Und Süd 19, vol. 73, Munich, 1895, p. 322; J. Birnie Danzker, Franz von Stuck: Die Sammlung des Museums Villa Stuck, Munich, 1997, p. 165, no. 53