Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bulldogs -- that don't bite

Another favourite Inkwell in the collection is this American double well.  It is in the style commonly referred to as Snail inks, where the glass well can be rotated open in the metal stand to reveal the ink, and then rotated closed to seal it and keep the ink from evaporating.

As you can see, the glass part does resemble a 'snail'.  These are found in single, double and triple wells for various ink colours.

Our American Inkwell has the two glass 'snails' represented in white (milkglass), in the form of two Bull Dog Heads,  One for blue ink, one for red ink, on a metal frame with provision for a penrest.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Florence Barlow DOULTON Lambeth Isobath Inkwell

One of my favourite inkwells in the collection is this stoneware inkwell from Doulton, Lambeth UK ca. 1880 decorated by their renowned Bird artist Miss Florence Barlow.

The overall inkwell design is a patented fountain well called an ISOBATH, exclusive to the Thomas De La Rue company. There is an internal float that ensure that just the right amount of ink is in the little opening at any time. 

The whole thing is mounted on an oak wood inkstand, with grooves for the pens to rest.
The delicate detail of the birds and the leaves is remarkable when you realize that they are drawn, in reverse, with wet coloured clay into the mould before the item is fired.  This shows every brush stroke for the 'feathers'
Florence Barlow was an expert at this type of decoration, known as 'pate-sur-pate'