The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
This object is currently being catalogued
  • Inkstand and accessories
  • This object is currently being catalogued
  • Sarao
  • Naples, Italy
  • mid 18th century
  • Tortoise-shell and gold, inlaid
  • Height: 10.1 cm, stand
    Width: 24.8 cm, stand
    Depth: 22.9 cm, stand
    Height: 8.9 cm, bell
    Width: 5 cm, bell
    Height: 5 cm, sifter
    Width: 5.4 cm, sifter
    Height: 5.4 cm, pot
    Width: 5.4 cm, pot
  • Signature: 'Sarao Fecit Neapoli'
  • W207
  • West Gallery I
Commentary
  • This inkstand, with accompanying pots, bell and sand sifter, was made in Naples in a technique known as piqué work. Involving inlaying tortoiseshell with gold or silver, it was first developed in Naples at the end of the sixteenth century, but was also later adopted in Paris and London, although Naples long remained the centre of its production. This inkstand is signed (‘Sarao Fecit Neapoli’) by Sarao, one of the leading craftsmen in the technique who worked for Carlo III of Naples and his wife Maria Amalia. Notable collections of piqué work were assembled in the nineteenth century by the Rothschild family.