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Globe inkstand with bottles

ca. 1795
Origin: England
Blue glass
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1973-13,4A&B
Ink bottle and top, part of globe-shaped inkstand with pierced leaf design, acorn finial; female masks with floral festoons between; containing 3 blue glass bottles with fused silverplate tops for ink, quills and sand.
Label:Lord Melbourne purchased from John Parker and Edward Wakelin of London in 1770 a "Globe Inkstand" in sterling weighing 59 ounces 15 pennyweight. It was, as Grimwade has noted, a very early reference to this distinctive form of inkstand (most surviving examples dating between 1790 and 1810) and of surprisingly heavy weight. The finials of such inkstands house a central spring-loaded post that when depressed, causes the upper half of the sphere to swing downward. Most surviving sterling examples are the work of John Robins of London, who specialized in the form. One of his of 1798/99, illustrated by Clayton, is appropriately engraved with a map of the world.

The platers were especially adept in copying Robins's models. This is a particularly successful example with its handsomely pieced sphere, stamped classical masks and swags, and gracefully curved legs. Delieb illustrates a similar plated example that has a fitted leather case and additional writing accessories.
Provenance:Harvey & Gore, London