The Castlereagh Inkstand thumbnail 1
The Castlereagh Inkstand thumbnail 2
+7
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

The Castlereagh Inkstand

Inkstand
1817-1819 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The Castlereagh inkstand is a magnificent memorial to diplomacy in the age of Napoleon. Its origins are set out in an inscription on the stand:

'This inkstand is composed of the gold taken from the portrait snuff boxes which were presented by the SOVEREIGNS of Europe whose Arms are engraved hereon to Viscount Castlereagh upon the signature of the several treaties concluded in the Years 1813, 1814, & 1815'

Castlereagh's tireless efforts as Foreign Secretary to negotiate the alliances and treaties which culminated in the Treaties of Paris in 1814 and 1815, and the Treaty of Vienna in 1815, made him one of the principal architects of the defeat of Napoleon and of the reconstruction of Europe. The arms engraved on top of the platform of the inkstand are those of the four great Continental powers--Austria, Prussia, Russia and restored Bourbon France. On the sides are the arms of the Roman States--Bavaria, Portugal, Saxony, Sardinia, Hanover, Sweden, Württemberg, Naples, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Twenty-one of the gold boxes which Castlereagh had received from the sovereigns were deposited with Rundell's, the royal goldsmiths, on 6 March 1817. The inkstand was completed in 1819 at a cost of £1135 9s, with a further £15 12s for the engraved arms. A note from Rundell's in the Londonderry papers explains that the inkstand had been envisaged at a weight of 100 troy oz., but that Castlereagh had modified the original design of two tripods and one vase to a design incorporating two vases and the splendid palm tree taperstick, taking the weight to 148 troy oz..


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 7 parts.

  • Inkstand
  • Lid of Inkpot
  • Lid of Inkpot
  • Inner Rim of Inkpot
  • Pen Holder for Inkpot
  • Pounce Sieve
  • Sconce
Materials and Techniques
Cast, raised, embossed, chased, and engraved gold; wood support inside stand
Brief Description
Gold inkstand with two vases flanking a palm tree, supplied by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, London, 1817-1819
Dimensions
  • Height: 20.4cm (Note: Dimensions represent the whole seven parts of the object assembled.)
  • Width: 42.9cm
  • Depth: 24.4cm
Style
Credit line
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2003, with additional funding provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Art Fund (with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation), the Friends of the V&A, and the Barber, Bryan and Vallentin Funds
Subjects depicted
Summary
The Castlereagh inkstand is a magnificent memorial to diplomacy in the age of Napoleon. Its origins are set out in an inscription on the stand:



'This inkstand is composed of the gold taken from the portrait snuff boxes which were presented by the SOVEREIGNS of Europe whose Arms are engraved hereon to Viscount Castlereagh upon the signature of the several treaties concluded in the Years 1813, 1814, & 1815'



Castlereagh's tireless efforts as Foreign Secretary to negotiate the alliances and treaties which culminated in the Treaties of Paris in 1814 and 1815, and the Treaty of Vienna in 1815, made him one of the principal architects of the defeat of Napoleon and of the reconstruction of Europe. The arms engraved on top of the platform of the inkstand are those of the four great Continental powers--Austria, Prussia, Russia and restored Bourbon France. On the sides are the arms of the Roman States--Bavaria, Portugal, Saxony, Sardinia, Hanover, Sweden, Württemberg, Naples, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands.



Twenty-one of the gold boxes which Castlereagh had received from the sovereigns were deposited with Rundell's, the royal goldsmiths, on 6 March 1817. The inkstand was completed in 1819 at a cost of £1135 9s, with a further £15 12s for the engraved arms. A note from Rundell's in the Londonderry papers explains that the inkstand had been envisaged at a weight of 100 troy oz., but that Castlereagh had modified the original design of two tripods and one vase to a design incorporating two vases and the splendid palm tree taperstick, taking the weight to 148 troy oz..
Bibliographic Reference
Telesko, Werner. 'The Visual "Afterlife" of the Congress of Vienna', in Agnes Husslein-Arco, Sabine Grabner and Werner Telesko, eds, Europe in Vienna: The Congress of Vienna 1814/15 [Catalogue of the exhibition held February 20 - June 21 2015, at the Orangery and the Lower Belvedere, Vienna]. Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2015, pp. 327-381 (plate 238, p. 376). ISBN 978 3 902805 66 9.
Collection
Accession Number
M.8:1 to 7-2003

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record createdDecember 17, 2003
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