A photo of the inkwell from the Liberty sketch book is available on request.
I thought I would end the year with a “bang”. This large inkwell is simply astonishing. Made in 1905 and probably designed in c 1902, it is the only surviving example I am aware of. Fully hallmarked for Liberty & Co it appears as model 519 in the Liberty silver sketch book page 287. The lid and top of the inkwell have very characteristic arts and crafts design features of Oliver Baker, to whom this inkwell is attributed. Baker was Liberty’s “second” designer, instrumental in the establishment of the Cymric range but today very much in Archibald Knox’s shadow.
This inkwell epitomises the reasons I am passionate about silver of the period c 1880-1914. Radical and ahead of its time, this type of metalwork was only to be seen again in the Bauhaus / Deco period and the second half of the 20th century. Such designs truly contributed to the version of modernity we take for granted today.
Of this late Victorian and Edwardian metalwork; pieces by Christopher Dresser and Archibald Knox are considered the most modern and ahead of their time. Dresser gave us Bauhaus before Bauhaus, Knox gave us rockets (in silver) before rockets and now Oliver Baker has, in designing this inkwell, given us a spaceship (in silver) before spaceships. An alien spaceship at that.
Price range: Sold
Maker: Liberty & Co
Designer: Oliver Baker (attrib)
Date : 1905
Marks: L & Co, Birmingham, date letter “f”.
Material: Sterling silver
Condition: Excellent. Replacement liner
Size: 21 cm max width, 4.0cm high
Weight : 9.9 oz, 282 grams