This piece brings together two heavyweights of the period, Liberty & Co and the Ruskin Pottery factory. Both innovators and leaders in arts and crafts design in their respective areas. It incorporates a silver mounted souffle glazed Ruskin inkwell (model 60) with a silver lid and surround with scrolling silver feet matching the lid handle. The silver shoulders are set with four turquoise stones. The silver is fully hallmarked for Liberty & Co 1900. The design is classic Oliver Baker and is model 500/63 in the Liberty silver sketch book. Available on request.
The inkwell presents in overall excellent condition with the lid restored to its original design.
The Ruskin inkwell is made of tocky brown clay and is one of the earliest pieces of Ruskin pottery known, dating from before 1901. The souffle glaze pre dates Ruskins invention of his better know high fired flambe glaze. In its day this would have been a rare and experimental pot which Liberty embellished.
The link between Baker and The Ruskin factory, both based in Birmingham, was most likely through William Rabone Haseler, owner of the firm William Hair Haseler who made all Liberty’s Cymric silver. He was also President of The Birmingham School of Art of which Edward Richard Taylor, founder of the Ruskin factory, was headmaster.
The Ruskin inkwell is stamp marked “TAYLOR”.
For a very similar inkwell see stock code A368 in the Archive. I am unaware of any other examples.
Price : £1,000-5,000
Maker: Liberty & Co, Ruskin Pottery
Designer: Oliver Baker (attrib)
Date : 1900
Marks: Liberty & Co, Birmingham, date letter “a”
Material: Sterling silver, Ruskin pottery
Condition: Restored lid, firing damage to inkwell base
Size: 7 cm high, 11.5cm max diameter
Weight : NM