Artifact of the Month
This silver inkwell rests on Pearl S. Buck’s writing desk in her National Historic Landmark Home, the Pearl S. Buck House in Bucks County, PA. Photographs in the Pearl S. Buck International archives show that it also was within arm’s reach of this prolific writer on her desk at the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, once headquartered on historic Delancey Street in Philadelphia.
This neo classic design by Francois-Daniel Imlin, of Strasbourg France (1757-1831) has an oblong rectangular platform and spherule pierced apron. It is incised with patera supports and acorn shaped feet supporting a pair of silver cylindrical ink wells with blue glass liners. Encased with satyr mask uprights and urns, and topped with articulating gadrooned hinged lids, the artifact contains traces of ink within the ink liners.
The center pyramidal obelisk is mounted with typical weapon cluster plaques under a finial of a Roman warrior helmet. Its signature lozenge is stamped with an “I” and its rectangular outline with “IMLIN” is consistent with the designer signature of Francois-Daniel Imlin.
Symbols used in this piece include:
Acorn- strength and potential
Possible helmet of Minerva : goddess of music, poetry, wisdom.
Donna Carcaci Rhodes
Read the Pearl S. Buck House blog for the past Artifacts of the Month