Friday, February 4, 2011

from RUSSIA with LOVE ~ The Czar Bell Inkwell

This is an inkwell from our collection with a little story behind it.
At the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games Russian walker, George Klimov, became acquainted with local Aussie athlete Ray Smith, they trained together and exchanged ideas on training and technique.  After his return to Moscow Klimov sent Ray an inkwell resembling the Czar Bell, which weighed 200 tons and was rated as the largest bell in the world.  
The Bell  was cast in the mid-1700s and was intended for the belfry of Ivan The Great, but during a fire in the Kremlin in May of 1737  the bell cracked when the fire was extinguished.
It remained at the foundry for more than 100 years, in 1836 it was lifted, and an 11 ton piece broke off.  
The surface of the original bell is decorated with convex images, ornaments, pictures and inscriptions, including the names of the casters, Ivan Motorin and his son Michail.
This small inkwell replica of that broken bell arrived in Melbourne in 1957.

It was obviously then a popular Moscow Souvenir, as it came in its own decorated cardboard box with a small leaflet in 4 languages.
We were very fortunate, several years ago, to purchase this from Ray Smith's estate.  A piece of Melbourne Olympic history.