Ceramic Inkwells & Pen Holders
Ceramic inkwells, pen rests and pen holders are a specialist area of collecting. Whilst many porcelain examples are fairly common, earthenware and stoneware inkwells are generally much rarer. There are of course also many rare and highly sought after porcelain inkwells, especially those that are figural depicting well known people or fictional characters.
It is likely that many of the Staffordshire whiteware ‘flatback’ type inkwells, and indeed many others, were purely ornamental. Their fanciful forms often being impractical for use. As earthenware is not vitrified it is not impervious to liquids, which means that earthenware examples can often be seen to be heavily stained with ink that has seeped through the fabric of the pots, particularly to the undersides of bases.
One of the commonest types of all are the small brown stoneware salt-glazed ‘pie’ shape examples. These are wheel thrown and of considerably less interest to collectors than figural and other moulded forms, though they were extremely popular in their day as can be attested by the huge numbers that are found in Victorian and later ‘bottle dumps’.
Inkwells can be found in black basalt, salt-glazed, felspathic stoneware, porcelain, treacleware and many other ceramic bodies.