This is a wonderful and quite unusual inkstand. The main part of the inkstand was made of Gutta Percha, an early material made of tree latex. This material, which was invented in the mid-1800s, was a good one for inkwells as it resisted ink corrosion and it could be molded with quite detailed decoration. The inkwells and center part which includes the mechanism for opening the lids are made of cast brass or bronze, as are the feet of the stand. Turning the fleur-de-lis finial in the center allows the mechanism to open both lids. Metal cast medallions on front and back of the center part feature profiles of Athena, the warrior goddess. We date this inkstand to between 1880 and 1900. We are not sure of the country of origin. The inserts are ceramic. We do not believe they are original as they don’t match color-wise, although both fit nicely. We believe this stand would likely have had glass inserts originally.

SIZE: The tray measures about 12 inches by 6 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches high to the top of the finial. The legs are about 1 inch high.

CONDITION: There is a large chip on the top of one corner (please see photos). The stand was originally coated or painted black; some of this has rubbed off in places to show a dark red. Otherwise this inkstand is in great condition, considering its 120 plus years of age. The metal parts are in excellent condition. The mechanism works beautifully, and the lids fit tightly onto the inkwells.

This is an uncommon inkstand that would look wonderful on a Victorian style desk – or as part of an inkwell collection.


Artful Toys and Antiques

Victorian Gutta Percha Mechanical Inkstand


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since 2006

Artful Toys and Antiques

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