A look at the design, market and legacy of Victorian pottery

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Majolica Desk Stands

Desk stands are something of an anachronism today. They certainly look nice, but since the days of ink wells is long in the past, they really don't serve much function. I was reminded of this today when I saw a George Jones desk stand that Michael Strawser was promoting through the MIS Facebook page.

The piece above is coming up for auction on Saturday afternoon at Strawser's Spring Majolica Auction. We will be watching its auction progress carefully. This is a rare piece that doesn't come up very often. The last time we can recall seeing one was at Strawser's 2006 Fall auction. At that time it brought $10,000 plus commission. No doubt the charming composition of the two birds sitting on their nests added to the value.

This is certainly an exception where desk stands are concerned. They generally do not sell well at all. The only other examples I've been able to track down that sold well are this TC Brown, Westhead, Moore & Co. inkwell with a dog's head shown below, and this Wedgwood Egyptian themed piece These would easily sell for $2000 plus on the retail market.

The majolica desk stands most commonly found today are simple ink wells most often disguised as an apple or a pear on a plate. These are sometimes sold with the fruit missing.
Many of these are of continental origin though from the examples I've seen I suspect that they were made in Great Britain as well.

Most other desk stands that I have seen are of continental origin, generally French. These pieces have very limited appeal to most collectors and rarely sell for more than $200 irregardless of their size and complexity.

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