The patent for this mechanism, allowing the ink to remain at a constant level in a vulcanite well, was lodged by William Thomas Shaw in 1891. Doulton produced a number of different variants, mainly for the London printer and pen manufacturer Thomas de la Rue.
This particular example decorated with scrolling foliage by Martha M Rogers is among the rarer designs and, estimated at £60-120 at the sale on July 6, took £2800 in Newcastle under Lyme.
Putti in your hands
Included in the BBR (15% buyer’s premium) sale on July 2 was another desirable Doulton ‘ink’: a figural model with three putti seated around a foliate decorated vase. Similar to one pictured in Colin Roberts’ book Doulton Ink Wares (1993) and in perfect condition, it took £1600.
Based on the banks of the Thames in Lambeth, Doulton produced a number of promotional wares for nearby boat firms – some of them made in very small numbers.
Also included in the BBR sale was an ashtray with a tugboat to the centre and lettering for the Brentford marine haulage firm Clements, Knowling & Co. Hard to find another, it took £800.