The inkstand comprises a Roman 'altar' plinth of golden Siena marble garnished with three bronze 'krater' vases, one of which has a thyrsus-finialed lid and stands on an 'Apollo' tripod of winged griffin monopodia. The fashion for such vase garnitures was encouraged in the late 1790s by the architect and author Charles Heathcote Tatham. Following his return from his studies in Rome, he assisted the court architect Henry Holland (d. 1842) in his work at Carlton House, London for George, Prince of Wales, later George IV. Tatham returned with a collection of vases, which featured in a design that is likely to have been intended for future publication and is inscribed 'Various Ornaments for Chimney Pieces etc.' (illustrated in Bloomsbury Book Auctions, 1 June 2000, lot 90). This inkstand may have been executed by Benjamin Vulliamy, who served as 'Furniture man' to the Prince of Wales.
Edward Knoblock was one of the earliest and most influential collectors of Regency furniture in England. Born in New York in 1874, he arrived in England in 1897 and worked as a playwright. His greatest moment as a collector came with the sale at Christie's of Thomas Hope's collection from The Deepdene, Surrey in July 1917, when he purchased many pieces that were later to be housed at the Beach House, Worthing, Sussex. A pair of chairs from Knoblock's collection was sold from the collection of the late Ian Phillips, Esq. (+), Charlton Mackrell Court, Somerset, in these Rooms, 16 November 1995, lot 344.