This pretty inkwell was made using the champlevé enamel process, probably in France at the end of the 1800s or possibly the very early 1900s. The metal base is brass, which was carved out to create hollow areas where enamel was placed and fired. This inkwell features turquoise, dark blue, pale yellow and some splashes of deep red and white. The inkwell is urn-shaped with a hinged lid. A decorative handle graces each side. Four feet raise the base a bit. The bottom of one handle is impressed with the number 1720 (most likely an inventory number) and RB. We are not sure if that is a maker’s sign.
SIZE: This inkwell measures about 6 inches by 4 1/8 inches, and is about 2 3/8 inches high to the top of the finial.
CONDITION: We believe that the bronze “walls” separating the enamel was painted to protect the metal; there is an area where it looks like that paint was brushed over the enamel. This happened during manufacture and is not an age issue. We do not see any missing enamel. The lid of the inkwell is misshapen or bent, although the hinge works well. There is no insert, but this inkwell was used without one; there is some ink staining the inside of the inkwell and the lid.
Late 19th Century French Champleve Inkwell