This is an extremely rare and quite amazing inkwell. It was made by the prestigious porcelain company Fischer and Reichenbach in the early 1800s. This Bohemian porcelain company later became the Pirkenhammer company. It is an inkwell, a whimsical nodder, and a fun figural decoration all wrapped into one beautifully crafted piece. The figure is of a man, likely a little drunk, sitting on a barrel. He holds a half full flask of wine in one hand and hoists a glass in the other. He is so lifelike – just take a look at his face, complete with a few wrinkles in his forehead and laugh lines around his open mouth.
As an inkwell, here is how it works: The head lifts off, ink is poured into the hollow body, and gravity fills the well in front of the barrel. If it works properly, the ink should not overflow. Because of the way the head is made – attached to a wire with a lead weight at the end with another pin going through the neck which rests on the body, the head nods happily when touched. Possibly the sloshing of ink inside would also move the head – we haven't tried this. There is a pen holder on the side of the barrel, shaped like a little stump.
The letters F & R, and EX are impressed into the base. This F & R mark was used between 1811 and 1846; we are not sure what the EX means.
SIZE: The base measures 4 1/8" by 3 1/8". The inkwell is just under 7" tall.
CONDITION: The condition of this reveling gentleman is amazingly excellent, considering that he is nearing 200 years of age. There is a chip on the top of his neck, where one side of the pin rests. A previous owner painted gold over the chip, which makes it less obvious. This chip does not affect the structure or movement of the nodding head at all. Otherwise, we see no chips or cracks in this wonderful piece. The paint is still bright; the face is perfect! Some of the gold has worn on the edges of the base, and a little on the man's scarf.
We have never seen an inkwell like this before. It will probably be a long time before we see another one, if we ever do. It will be a one of a kind addition to an inkwell, nodder, or porcelain collection.
Porcelain gravity-fed inkwell and nodder – Fischer & Reichenbach, 1811-1846
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