Of usual spherical form surrounded by a flat horizontal frame with fine beaded border supported by 4 reeded arms terminating in shells at that border and descending to a short knopped stem, the shells linked by pretty cast swags of flowers and leaves and all raised on four long scroll legs. The two hemispherical hinged covers fastened by a leaf bud finial applied to a plain vertical arch across the centre. Complete with original fittings of a two-leaf memo pad, a glass inkwell and pounce pot with silver covers and 2 parts of a quill holder.
These delightful objects first appear in about 1770 and only remained popular during the next forty years. The undoubted master of their design was John Robins. He is much underrated as a highly accomplished silversmith working over a considerable period. He entered his first mark in 1774 and was making wonderful mounts to Chinese porcelain for William Beckford as late as 1820, he died in 1831. One of his greatest creations was a superb and wonderfully elegant coffee jug on stand which passed through our hands over 20 years ago. It was designed by James Wyatt, made by Robins in 1790 and is now in the Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas. However his name is mostly associated with globe inkstands and some of the rarest are those which have maps of the world engraved on them or have the figure of Atlas supporting the spherical body. They also come if different sizes but the smaller ones, as in the one above, are the most attractive. It is also rare to find one with its original contents.