Art Deco period Egyptian revival style enamel and silver-gilt desk set
Box: height 10.5cm, width 27cm, depth 26cm
Inkwell: height 7.5cm, width 16.5cm, depth 8cm
Decorated in the Egyptian revival style, this superb Art Deco period comes in a fitted case with each piece crafted from enamel and silver-gilt. It comprises an inkstand of rectangular form, with two glass inkwells with enamelled covers that sit within the talons of large eagle pen rest with spread wings. It comes with a desk seal with a Sphinx terminal and an engraved matrix, a letter knife with an ivorine (ivory-replacement) blade, and a blotter with a similar finial. Additionally there is a pencil and a nib cutter or sharpener. The stand and the blotter are engraved with the initials ‘W.S’ in hieroglyphic lettering; it is marked 900 for the quality of the silver, and it is set within a fitted case.
The Egyptian Revival style swept Continental Europe in a series of waves in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, inspired by successive discoveries in Egypt by primarily British and French archaeologists in locations such as the Valley of the Kings. The monumental architecture of Egypt was particularly inspiring, especially to American architects; much of the appeal must have come from the fact that it was an ancient, majestic civilisation, distinct from the traditional Classical order, and as such it offered a link to the past while still offering something new and exotic. The style touched all aspects of art and design, from grand civic building projects to private, intricate, decorative and functional pieces, as this beautiful desk set, dating to the Art Deco period, demonstrates.