Sarcophagus-shaped inkstand

English (London)
about 1810


Height (in open position) x width: 14 1/2 x 17 in. (36.8 x 43.2 cm) Diameter: 203.2 mm (8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Rootwood and ebony, inlaid with brass, gilt-bronze mounts

On View

Susan Morse Hilles Gallery (Gallery 152)





This inkstand in the form of an ancient Roman sarcophagus incorporates inlaid brass decoration in the French manner and features the Order of the Garter on the lid, suggesting a royal connection.


"Honi soit qui mal y pense"
(shamed be he who thinks evil of it —motto of the Order of the Garter)


Randolph (dealer), Suffolk; sold by Randolph to H. Blairman and Sons, London [see note 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)

[1] This may be the inkstand illustrated by Martin Levy, "Taking up the Pen," Country Life 186, no. 17 (April 23, 1992): p. 62, fig. 6. Mr. Levy has confirmed that Blairman had acquired two similar inkstands a few years apart.

Credit Line

Gift of Horace Wood Brock