Circular inkstand and two ink bottles

English (London)
about 1810–15
George Bullock (English, 1777/78–1818)


Diam: 16 in.

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Veneered with tortoiseshell and brass, glass bottles

Not On View





This circular flowered inkstand-dish was conceived by George Bullock as a golden libation-patera appropriate for offerings at the altar of the love deity Venus. The mosaic compartments of flowered arabesques of Roman acanthus are executed in boulle-inlaid red tortoiseshell and ebony in the Louis XIV style. The design for the inkwell’s “buhl” marquetry is among a collection of tracings that were originally bound in a scrapbook by Thomas Wilkinson from the designs of the late Mr. George Bullock 1820, which is now at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
The initial pattern (in white mother-of-pearl) may have been invented for Queen Charlotte (r. 1761-1810), who visited Bullock’s Grecian Rooms, Piccadilly in 1812. One such inkstand described as ‘A very sumptuous circular ink-stand, of the late George Bullock’s Buhl manufacture with richly cut glass.’


Bretton Hall, Yorkshire. 2003, private collection; April 10, 2003, anonymous ("property of a gentleman") sale, Christie's, London, lot 1. Acquired on the London art market by Horace Wood Brock, New York; 2007, gift of Horace Wood Brock to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 23, 2008)

Credit Line

Gift of Horace Wood Brock