The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Inkstand
  • Workshop of Guiseppe Valadier (1762 - 1839)
  • Italy
  • c. 1785
  • Gilt-bronze, porphyry, serpentine, parcel-gilt silver, glass paste, steel bolt, pinewood and leather
  • Object size: 26.5 x 48.5 x 46.8 cm, inkstand
    Object size: 12.5 x 64 x 51.2 cm, travelling case
  • Incised mark: 'vii viii viiii x' Scratched, in italics
    Incised mark: 'iiii v vi' Scratched, in italics
    Incised mark: 'ii iii' Scratched, in italics
    Incised mark: 'xi xii' Scratched, in italics
  • F288
  • West Gallery I
Further Reading
  • This splendid inkstand was almost certainly made in the Valadier workshop in the Via del Babuino, Rome, for Pope Pius VI who had visited the workshop in 1779. The five containers consist of a central penholder in the shape of a vase of serpentine supported on a pedestal, a sand-shaker and inkwell, both in the form of cylindrical pedestals, and two sarcophagus-shaped containers supported on lion-paw feet. The gilt-bronze frame of the stand is decorated with eagles and glass paste cameos of classical male heads, including Homer, Julius Caesar and Socrates. The accomplished neo-classical style suggests that it was probably made after the death of Luigi Valadier (1726-85), and it has been attributed to the period after 1785 when the workshop was being directed by Valadier’s son, the architect Giuseppe Valadier (1762-1839).