'Tray-shaped' inkstand

Ref: 1718
  • Designer / Maker

    Designed and manufactured by George Bullock (?-1818)

  • Detail

    Rosewood and brass, with glass

    4.5 x 35 x 23 cm

    English (London), circa 1815

  • Provenance

    […]; H. Blairman & Sons; private collection

  • Literature

    Wainwright, et al., George Bullock: Cabinet-Maker, London, 1988, no. 24 (for a discussion of ‘tray-shaped’ inkstands)

  • Notes

    There are four designs in the ‘Tracings by Thomas Wilkinson from the Designs of the late Mr George Bullock 1820’, known as the Wilkinson Tracings (City Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham (M.3.74), pp. 123 (see right), 241, 242b and 249.

    The auction of The Whole of the Finished Stock of … Mr George Bullock, Dec., Christie’s, 2–5 May 1819 included, amongst its 360 lots, 14 inkstands. There was a variety of forms: circular; a pair with ‘folding tops’; one supported on sphinxes, and seven described as ‘tray-shaped’, five of which had bottles (inkwells) and five had ormolu handles.

    Amongst the surviving circular inkstands, in a red turtle shell and brass, are examples in the collections of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The tray-shaped inkstand (George Bullock: Cabinet-Maker, no, 24), executed in ebony and ivory, with ormolu handles, is in the collection of the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

    Tray-shaped inkstands, corresponding with the present example, survive in several private collections, in a variety of materials and in première partie and contre partie (as here). Examples include ones on ebony, rosewood, turtle shell and oak grounds.

    All known examples of the present model are constructed in the same way, with three parallel fillets at each corner, holding the sides in place, and leather under the bases.