A similar dolphin-borne 'shell' inkstand was sold from the Coke Collection from Jenkyn Place, in these Rooms, 17 October 1996, lot 5. A related model, with pearl-decked lid, was offered anonymously, in these Rooms, 16 November 1995, lot 1, while another is illustrated in N. Penny, Catalogue of European Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1992, vol. II. p. 202, cat. no. 415.
Thomas Messenger and Sons were primarily lamp manufacturers and had a metal foundry in Birmingham (see C. Gilbert, Furniture at Temple Newsam House and Lotherton Hall, Leeds, 1998, p. 606, cat. no. 733).