Date Made/Found: 1785-1795
Material and Medium: Old Sheffield Plate, glass
Dimensions: Overall: 95 x 150 x 190mm (3 3/4 x 5 7/8 x 7 1/2in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: L1908.3
What is this object?
This is an inkstand made of Old Sheffield Plate, from around 1790.
What are the different parts?
There are two square glass bottles to hold ink. In the centre there is a taper stick and an extinguisher, used to melt wax to seal letters. Underneath is a box for wafers, small pieces of dried adhesive which when moistened could also used for letter seals. There are two hollows in the tray to hold the pens.
How has it survived in good condition?
Early Old Sheffield Plate inkstands copied silver versions with perforated bodies and long curved chased scroll decorations. But without silver edges or wire they were unprotected and didn’t last long. This one had silver gadroon borders to protect from wear and tear and improve the appearance.
Purchased with the assistance of the V&A Purchase Grant Fund.