Antique French Boulle Cut Brass Tortoiseshell Inkstand C.1860

Antique French Boulle Cut Brass Tortoiseshell Inkstand C.1860

Antique French Boulle Cut Brass Tortoiseshell Inkstand C.1860

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London, United Kingdom
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Less than one week
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About this item

This is an absolutely stunning antique French Boulle & red tortoiseshell inkstand circa 1860 in date. 

It is expertly inlaid with foliate stylised foliage decoration in cut brass and red tortoiseshell.

There is a beautiful quill tray which provides ample storage for your pens and a silverplate lidded glass ink pot.

It is a beautiful piece which would make a fabulous desk accessory.


In excellent condition having been beautifully cleaned in our workshops, please see photos for confirmation.
Dimensions in cm:

Height 9 x Width 28 x Depth 28

Dimensions in inches:

Height 3 inches x Width 11 inches x Depth 11 inches

André-Charles Boulle (1642 - 1732), was the French cabinetmaker who is generally considered to be the preeminent artist in the field of marquetry. His fame in marquetry led to his name being given to a fashion of inlaying known as Boulle (or in 19th-century Britain, Buhl work).

Boulle appears to have been originally a painter, since the first payment to him by the crown of which there is any record (1669) specifies ouvrages de peinture. He was employed for many years at Versailles, where the mirrored walls, the floors of wood mosaic, the inlaid paneling and the marquetery furniture in the Cabinet du Dauphin were regarded as his most remarkable work. These rooms were long since dismantled and their contents dispersed, but Boulle's drawings for the work are in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

His royal commissions were numerous, as we learn both from the Comptes des B timents du Roi and from the correspondence of Louvois. Not only the most magnificent of French monarchs, but foreign princes and the great nobles and financiers of his own country crowded to him with commissions, and the mot of the abbé de Marolles, Boulle y lourne en ovale, has become a stock quotation in the literature of French cabinetmaking.


Tortoiseshell or tortoise shell 
is a material produced mainly from the shell of the hawksbill turtle, an endangered species. It was widely used until the 1970s in the manufacture of items such as combs, sunglasses, guitar picks and knitting needles. In 1973, the trade of tortoiseshell worldwide was banned under CITES.

Tortoiseshell was attractive to manufacturers and consumers because of its beautiful appearance and its durability, and its organic warmth against the skin. Piqué-work, jewellery made from tortoiseshell inlaid with precious metals in patterns or pictures, was made during the Victorian Era and was highly prized.


W28.0 x H9.0 x D28.0 cm



Date of manufacture





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