The cabinet is most likely named for the shells depicted on the cornice of the room. The fireplace was of red marble from Languedoc which was accompanied by a large mirror. Treasured objects from the king's collection were displayed on the fireplace. The cabinet had a slightly curved ceiling and an alcove with gilded wooden panels.
In 1708 the king had it refurnished with red damask stools and curtains to match. Surprisingly, the room was kept intact until 1754 when Louis XV had it demolished to make room for the king's staircase.
Paintings were plentiful; particularly two portraits of Henri IV and Henry III by Pourbus and Clouet, respectively. Within the niche even more paintings were to be found as well as a bookstand spanning the entire length of the niche. This is why the room was occasionally referred to as the king's "library" - however, it was not used as such. Instead, the books there were meant to display the vast range of books in the royal family's possession. For this very reason, Louis XIV ordered the above-mentioned bookstand and made it clear that it was to have glass doors.
Two other bookstands by Boulle were placed by the windows.