Linke clearly intended this inkwell, adapted from Messagé's group La Source, to form part of his stand at the 1900 Exposition Universelle. Payne notes, however, that its absence from any of the photographs of Linke's display, taken in the October at least five months after the exhibition opened, is explained by the fact that it is not mentioned in the daybook until the September and probably didn't make it on to the stand, if at all, until shortly before its close on 12 November. Like seven or eight other pieces originally intended for inclusion on the stand, it would seem the encrier exposition was a casualty of both Linke's over-ambitious production schedule and the financial burden that the manufacture of such ornate and high quality work imposed. Most of these pieces were shown at subsequent exhibitions, the encrier forming part of Linke's stand at the 1905 Liège Exposition universelle (see photograph opposite). The group of La Source was used again two years later, when it formed the stretcher mount on Linke's centre-table (index numbers 930 and 965) shown at the Salon des Industries du Mobilier in Paris. For an example of the latter, see Christie's New York, 24 April 2002, lot 375.
Payne notes the total cost of making the model for the encrier was an expensive 2,024 francs, of which a little over half was for Messagé's forty hours contribution as sculptor. The 1900 Exposition example was sold, along with three important pieces of furniture from the 1900 stand (the Grand bureau and associated armchair, and the Bahut Louis XV Mars et Vénus), to the South African banker and diamond merchant Solomon Joel. A further six encriers were produced up until 1925 and sold at considerably varying prices. The present example is thought to have been given to the owner's mother in the 1930s by a close friend, who may have bought it directly from Linke.
For a note on François Linke, please see lot 100.