Anthony John Mundella was an early trade unioninst and Liberal MP for Sheffield from 1868. He was the son of an Italian father, who probably came to Britain because of the political strife in Italy during the 1820s, and an English Mother from Leicester. His family were quite poor during his childhood, but Mundella was fortunate enough to gain a basic education. He gradually worked his way up to owning several factories in the East Midlands. He became interested in politics at a young age, but actively engaged at the age of 15, registering as a Chartist. Mundella's arbitration techniques for dealing with industrial disputes, his belief in Universal Education and his affinity for the working class, made him a natural fit as an MP in Sheffield, after the reform act allowed a greater number of people from working class backgrounds to have the vote. He was also Christened as a non-conformist; another powerful group within the politics of Sheffield.
Mundella had a love of beautiful things in nature, art and literature and appears to have been an avid collector. Much of his shell collection was donated to Weston Park Museum in 1875, soon after its opening.