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American Sterling Overlay on Grueby Art Pottery Extremely Rare Inkwell, Boston, c. 1900

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A Grueby inkwell in itself is quite a rare object, this one may be unique. The dark green glaze of the pottery (the best Grueby color) is beautiful and is enhanced by the silver overlay. The hinged dome lid is plain and the overlay design on the body of the piece is (appropriately) designed including quills and ribbons.

We are aware of no other piece of sterling overlay on Grueby pottery and believe this was a special order item or a possibly prototype for a line which was never developed. While very rare pieces of Grueby pottery are found mounted on silver, sterling overlay is another matter. Further, sterling overlay is mentioned in none of the literature on Grueby. This form of inkwell is found with Tiffany Studios bronze lids, but this is the only known sterling example.

It is odd that we do not see more Grueby Pottery with silver, especially given that many of Grueby's designers had experience in metalwork and that Grueby was sold exclusively in Boston by Bigelow, Kennard & Co., the famous jewelers and silversmiths. It is quite possible that Bigelow, Kennard did this silver overlay work as a special order.

This stunning and large inkwell is impressed underneath 'GRUEBY/ BOSTON. MA' (very difficult to read). The lid is marked on the inside 'STERLING'. It measures 4.5 inches high by 5.5 inches round. The glass liner is missing from the inside but could probably be replaced. It is in otherwise excellent condition.