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Johann Christian Sick (1766-1824)

Inkstand c. 1810

Silver gilt, parcel gilt and gold | 11.7 x 22.0 x 8.3 cm (whole object) | RCIN 49883

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  • A parcel gilt inkstand in the form of a rowing boat with planking and a central rib, with a pierced gallery at either side and entwined gilt snakes at either end, their coils forming supports for the boat. Fitted with a central rectangular well of cast stiff leaves, the flat lid with an oval reserve in which sits an oval gold fob seal with a lyre-shaped handle, with a border of flower heads, the matrix engraved with a coronet and AF monogram, containing a musical mechanism. Flanked by two circular pots with hemispherical lower bodies, the upper part cast with a diaper pattern. Each with a flat lid with a lyre-shaped handle and flower heads, one with a central hole, the other pierced as a caster.

    The form of an oval inkstand with upwardly scrolled ends was well known in the 1790s – but was rarely so closely related to a boat. Musical boxes concealed in seals (as well as scent bottles, snuff boxes and other small bibelots) were not uncommon in the early 19th century. Because of their small size the range of notes was usually limited to 8 – 14. Many of these works had a barillet movement, and a winding ring fitted into the upper part of the seal. It was unusual however to combine a fob seal of this type with an inkstand.

    Stand only struck with city mark of Stuttgart, date letter for c. 1810, and maker's mark of Johann Christian Sick; matrix of musical mechanism engraved with coronet and AF monogram.


    Acquired by Queen Mary when Duchess of York in 1901. Formerly belonged to Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge.  An accompanying label notes that the inkstand came 'from White Lodge', a year after Queen Mary's father died.

    Sick, who was goldsmith to the court of Wurttemberg, also supplied the teapot and cream jug which were inherited by Queen Mary from Francis of Teck.

  • Medium and techniques

    Silver gilt, parcel gilt and gold


    11.7 x 22.0 x 8.3 cm (whole object)

    779.3 g (Weight) (whole object)