European Decorative Arts and Sculpture
Inkstand and Candleholder with Musicians, Animals, and GriffinMade in Westerwald region, Germany, Europe
Artist/maker unknown, German
Salt-glazed stoneware with cobalt and manganese decoration
2008-104-1a--cPurchased with the Dean Walker Fund, the John T. Morris Fund, and with funds contributed by Dr. Charles W. Nichols, 2008
LabelFigurative 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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