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Inkstand and Candleholder with Musicians, Animals, and a Griffin

Artist/maker unknown, German

Made in Westerwald Region, Germany, Europe

c. 1740

Salt-glazed stoneware with cobalt and manganese decoration

19 3/4 x 9 7/8 x 7 1/4 inches (50.2 x 25.1 x 18.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 254a, European Art 1500-1850, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Dean Walker Fund, the John T. Morris Fund, and with funds contributed by Dr. Charles W. Nichols, 2008

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Figurative stonewares developed as a genre in the Westerwald in the eighteenth century, inspired by similar sculptural ceramics made in contemporary porcelain and earthenware centers. In general, the stoneware figures were functional—often as accessories for writing sets, candleholders, or salt cellars. This object is among a small number of ambitious, large-scale pieces that combine the functions of an inkstand with elaborate groupings of figures; in this case, musicians are accompanied by animals, including a dancing griffin, within an arrangement that evokes the revelries of a festival procession. An almost identical inkstand in the collection of the Keramikmuseum Westerwald may have been created as a companion to this object, perhaps as a special commission for an unknown patron.

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