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Images shown include the photograph filed with the registered design for this inkwell,[344200 on the 13th December 1879] courtesy of the National Archives, Kew, together with a photograph of another, related design, also registered by H.W. and L. Dee, of 8, Sherwood Street, London, in the same period [343753 on the 3rd December 1879].
Henry William and Louis Dee registered a large number of designs in the years 1868 to 1884. At least two of the figural caricature designs were satirical: a small group of pepper pots formed as Disraeli in Egyptian headdress manufactured in 1878 and a mustard pot in the form of Gladstone, his hand holding an axe.
Engraved inside the lid of this inkstand is the name of the retailer 'A. Thomas, 39B Old Bond St.' Thomas is known to have also retailed a pair of Henry William Dee candlesticks formed as a three-faced man in a night cap, hallmarked in 1879 to a design registered on August 30th 1877, and a pepper mill in the form of a hooped tub with a horse-mill handle , Louis Dee, 1880. 39b Old Bond Street was the address of the British Institution art gallery and of the art dealers, Agnews, from 1877.
John Culme [ see the 'Directory of Gold & Silversmiths, Jewellers & Allied Traders 1838-1914 from the London Assay Office Registers, 2 vols., publ. Antique Collectors' Club 1987] has pointed out that Louis Dee, in his will dated 23/08/1884, mentioned his designer, Thomas Reeves and it has been speculated that Reeves may have been responsible for Dee's figurative designs.
Very little is known of Thomas Reeves's career. A Thomas Reeves is recorded as working for Barnards in the 1850's and the firm of London and Ryder supplied a cup for the Goodwood Race meeting of 1860 to a design by a 'young artist, Mr. Reeves', which the 'Morning Chronicle' of 23rd July 1860 described as his 'first work' and as such to be 'highly commended.' The Post Office London Directory of 1860 lists a Thomas Reeves, 'modeller', at 6 Newman Street, Oxford Street. The Census of 1861 records a 'Thomas Reeve' living with his widowed mother, Elizabeth, at 2, Upper Penton Street, Islington, giving his employment as 'sculptor, modeller, designer.'[for which references see www.sculpture. gla.ac.uk]
|Height||10.90 cm||(4.29 inches)|
|Width||10.70 cm||(4.21 inches)|
|Depth||8.10 cm||(3.19 inches)|