Date Made/Found: 1900-1930
, 1864 - 1933
Material and Medium: pewter
Dimensions: Overall: 90 × 156 × 152mm (3 9/16 × 6 1/8 × 6in.)
Department: Visual Art
Accession Number: VIS.4303
This object is a decorative inkstand made from pewter. It is shaped in the form of a tray with a central pot in which ink was stored. It would have been used with a pen and nib, which would have been dipped into the ink at regular intervals when writing. The inkstand was designed by Archibald Knox (1864-1933) and retailed by Liberty & Co. It was probably made between 1900 and 1930.
An inkstand, originally called a standish, is designed to hold writing utensils. They began to be manufactured during the 1600s, where matching sets varying in size, composition and materials were produced. During the 1800s some inkstands were made in elaborate forms. They served as an ornamental object for the desk, as well as functional accessory.
Having already designed a range of silver goods for Liberty & Co, Archibald Knox began designing the 'Tudric' range in 1900. These were fashionable items for the home made in pewter, which was undergoing a revival in popularity at this time.
A vast range of Tudric items were retailed by Liberty including clocks, picture frames, tankards and vases. They were more affordable than the silver 'Cymric' range, giving them a wider market appeal.
Knox's work was heavily influenced by traditional Celtic ornamentation. This influence can be clearly seen on this inkstand. The relief decoration is composed of interlacing patterns that are characteristic of the Celtic style. This style was very fashionable during the early 1900s.