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Antique French Boulle Cut Brass Tortoiseshell Inlaid Inkstand C.1840

Antique French Boulle Cut Brass Tortoiseshell Inlaid Inkstand C.1840

Antique French Boulle Cut Brass Tortoiseshell Inlaid Inkstand C.1840


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About this item

This is a lovely antique French ebonised cut brass and red tortoiseshell Boulle work encrier, circa 1840 in date, and retailed by the eminent retailer J.C. Vickery, of Regents Street, London.

The encrier comprises two glass inkwells and a lidded stamp box with a sunken well. It has exquisite cut brass Boulle marquetry of foliage and scrolling decorations.

This is a really beautiful object which placed on a lovely desk is sure to attract a lot of attention.


In excellent condition, please see photos for confirmation.

Dimensions in cm:

Height 14 x Width 30 x Depth 22

Dimensions in inches:

Height 5 inches x Width 1 foot x Depth 9 inches

J.C.Vickery of Regent Street W1

This was the firm of John Collard Vickery, an important and sucessful player in the retail side of the gold and silversmithing business in the early 20th century.

Collard and his then partner, Arthur Thomas Hobbs, bought up the long established business of William Griggs, a stationer and bookseller at 183, Regent Street in c.1890 and expanded the stock to include jewellery, dressing cases, gold and silver lines.

The partnership with Hobbs was a short lived one and was dissolved in 1891. Now on his own, Vickery went from strength to strength expanding the Regent Street premises to include, at first, No.181 and then No.179 by the year 1900. He went on to obtain the royal warrants of HM the King, HM the Queen, HM Queen Alexandra, TRH the Prince and Princess of Wales, HM the King of Portugal, HM the King of Spain, TM the King and Queen of Denmark, HM the Queen of Norway, HM the King of Sweden and the Prince and Princess Christian of Schleswig Holstein.

A move further up Regent Street to No's 145/147, in 1925, was forced by the expiration of the leases on the original premises. The move along with the depression in the 1920's and Vickery's advancing years all contributed to the firm being declared bankrupt in 1930.

John Collard Vickery died aged 75 on the 19th August 1930, what was left of the business fell into the hands of James Walker Ltd.

John Culme in his "Directory of Gold & Silversmiths" relates a nice story regarding Vickery: The late G.S. Saunders of James Walker Ltd. told me that Vickery would travel each day from his home in Streatham to Regaent St. in his own carriage, stopped his coachman one day in order to examine a leaf on the drive outside his house. Stepping down from the vehicle he picked up the leaf to pin to it a note. As he continued his journey, his gardeners were astonished to read. "Why has this leaf been here for two days?"

A fella after my own heart!

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.


W30.0 x H14.0 x D22.0 cm



Date of manufacture





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