The patinated bronze and ormolu-enriched 'vase' inkstand, is conceived in the French/antique manner as a Roman bath festooned with a heroic oak garland. Its serpent handles recall Athena/Minerva as goddess of wisdom, while its form derives in particular from the Aldobrandini 'Antique bathing Vase' illustrated in Charles Tatham's, Etchings ... of Ancient Ornamental Architecture, 1799. Its brass top has ink compartments fitted with acanthus-flowered lids accompanying a sand compartment with a sunflowered lid recalling Apollo as god of poetry. It is inscribed with a commemorative date 1814 and the name of the dedicatee, who might possibly be Ann, wife of Preb. the Hon. Frederick Hotham.
A contemporary bronze and brass inkstand, surmounted by a mortar commemorating Wellington's Salamanca victory, bears the 1816 patent mark of Thomas Dudley, 'Or Moulu and Bronze Manufacturer of King Street, Soho (C. Fox, London-World City 1800-1840, London, 1992, p. 406, cat. no. 303).