Regency Inkstand - Attributed to Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy

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6730_GMSQ_Vulliamy_inkstand_edited-compressor (1).jpeg

Regency Inkstand - Attributed to Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy


The rectangular vase-capped inkstand is fitted with a central gadrooned tazza with satyr mask handles, flanked by two lidded gadrooned inkwells with ram’s heads. Each side fitted with shallow scoop ebony lined pen trays, above a mahogany lined frieze drawer on a moulded plinth.

It is designed in the early 19th century French antique manner promoted by Thomas Hope's Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, 1807. The bronze garniture of bacchic ram-headed, reed-gadrooned and acorn-finialed 'krater' vases corresponds to those featured on a Carlton House 'Sphinx' inkstand supplied in 1810 for George, Prince of Wales, later King George IV by the Vulliamys of Pall Mall. The Prince's vases, which were recorded as serving for 'Ink, Sand, Sponge etc., accompanied a similar thyrsus-finialed vase for 'wafers', which lacked handles.

This inkstand is likely to have been designed by Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (d. 1854), who served as the Prince's 'Furniture man' and advertised as a dealer in 'ornamental work in metal'. From 1806 he operated a close working relationship with the Paris bronze-manufacturer Pierre-Maximilian Delafontaine (d. 1860), while the Prince's 'China man' Robert Fogg served as an intermediary.

An inkstand of this pattern, but with a different garniture, was sold anonymously, Christie's New York, 25 October 1986, lot 6. Two other examples, each sold at Christie’s, London, were sold 6 March 2003, Lot 8 and 28 February 2012, Lot 346.

English - Circa 1810-20


G. de Bellaigue, 'The Vulliamys and France', Furniture History, vol. III, 1967, pp. 49-50, plate. 12A. 

Compare this example with the one supplied to the Prince of Wales, shown in Plate 12A.

Height - 8 3/4” (22cm)     Width -  15 (38cm)     Depth - 9 1/2” (24cm)

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Since the 15th-century, these inkstands were also called a "standish".  The containers held ink and pounce.  There was a tendency to call some of this form an "Ambassador Inkstand".


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