“ This booklet is about collecting and about inkwells. Collecting means acquiring, assembling displaying and admiring. Collecting involves learning, by reading, by listening to others and by making mistakes. Collecting starts with the first purchase and after a few more, leads to the decision, whether you will be a general or specialist collector. Collecting is about buying and to buy well you have to build up a background and knowledge of your collecting area.
Inkwells have been around for thousands of years and have been made in almost every material imaginable. A truly comprehensive book on inkwells would end up as an encyclopedia with details of antique treen, ceramics of all kinds, tinplate, iron, silver, brass, bronze, stone, marble, leather, plastics and mixtures of all these items.
In addition it should cover hydraulic processes, ink and clay chemistry, classical art and modern design, sport, sculpture and painting within the historical periods from Roman to modern. Also add on diversions into aspects of decoration and artisan practice in the world ! To become an expert in all these areas would undoubtedly be a lifetime career !
This booklet attempts to condense some of these topics into 40 or 50 pages. After some general remarks on inkwells, design and collecting, the categories of inkwells are illustrated using our classification list as a guide.
It is so convenient to communicate with visual images and as indicated in our title, we hope that you will find some of the inkwells unusual.
The choice of the images is personal but they reflect the categories that collectors will encounter.
The main period of history for inkwell collectors is about 1750 to 1930. Earlier inkwells mainly reside in Museums and few inkwells and inkstands were made after 1930.
However there are still a lot of inkwells not in collections of Museums, and that presents a wonderful opportunity for collecting. “