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Woman & Children Figural Inkstand

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Artifact Description

Among the more rare artifacts recovered from the SS Republic wreck site was a unique porcelain figural inkstand comprising a number of related parts. The cover of the inkstand portrays a woman sewing, accompanied by children reading at her side. These decorative figures were designed to hide the writing apparatus underneath-a tray with two small holders containing a removable ink and spill pot. Further detail depicts a small round face repeated on both of the tray holders.

Over the centuries potteries have produced a wide range of useful and ornamental wares associated with writing. Inkstands were produced in large quantities during the nineteenth century, especially in the English Staffordshire potteries. Some of these inkstands were simple pen pots, while others, such as this example, were exceedingly elaborate. Although unmarked, the inkstand is indicative of production in the Staffordshire Minton Pottery and Porcelain Factory which in 1821 added hard paste porcelains to its ceramic staples, followed by an increased production of figural and ornamental porcelains. The discovery of this singular porcelain inkstand with all of its associated parts, suggests it was likely a passenger's personal belonging rather than having been shipped among the multitude of cargo items.

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