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Ink Well and Pen Holder

1860-1875
Origin: America, Pennsylvania (probably)
7 3/4" x 5" (19.7 cm. x 12.7 cm.)
Stoneware, salt-glazed, brown with Albany slip
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1979.900.5
Monkey, with long, full tail, stands on hind legs and peers over rim of large cornucopia held in his outstretched arms. Base contains reservoir and opening, and presumably held ink. Quill pens presumably rested in the cornucopia. (The cornucopia could also have been used as a flower container.) A variety of impressed designs decorate the cornucopia and the base.
Label:A monkey with a long, full tail standing on his hind legs peers over the rim of a large cornucopia as if curious about the pens that would have been stored in it. This inkwell and pen holder represents the trend from decorated useful wares to sculptural objects that no longer served a function other than decoration. Animals are traditional figural elements in American folk pottery, although no other piece of this exact form and material is known.
--Inspiration and Ingenuity: American Stoneware
Exhibition curated by Suzanne Findlen Hood
At the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum
February 2007

Provenance:Unidentified dealer, Bat Cave, N.C.; Howard A. Smith, Mayodan, N.C.