Silver inkstand made by Matthew Boulton - two cut glass pots, round integral silver centre container, with taper holder and snuffer acting as a lid.
On base of tray: Anchor / Head facing right / MB / Lion / J
-Alan Cole. Born in Birmingham, he was the son of a Birmingham manufacturer of small metal products who died when Boulton was 31. By then Boulton had managed the business for several years, and thereafter expanded it considerably, consolidating operations at the Soho Manufactory, built by him near Birmingham. At Soho, he adopted the latest techniques, branching into silver plate, ormolu and other decorative arts.
Boulton was a key member of the Lunar Society, a group of Birmingham-area men prominent in the arts, sciences, and theology. Members included Watt, Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood and Joseph Priestley. The Society met each month near the full moon. Members of the Society have been given credit for developing concepts and techniques in science, agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and transport that laid the groundwork for the Industrial Revolution.
Boulton founded the Soho Mint, to which he soon adapted steam power. He sought to improve the poor state of Britain's coinage, and after several years of effort obtained a contract in 1797 to produce the first British copper coinage in a quarter century.
Among the products Boulton sought to make in his new facility were sterling silver plate for those able to afford it, and Sheffield plate, silver-plated copper, for those less well off. Boulton and his father had long made small silver items, but there is no record of large items in either silver or Sheffield plate being made in Birmingham before Boulton did so.
Boulton petitioned Parliament for the establishment of an assay office in Birmingham. Though the petition was bitterly opposed by London goldsmiths, he was successful in getting Parliament to pass an act establishing assay offices in Birmingham and Sheffield, whose silversmiths had faced similar difficulties in transporting their wares.
In the 1770s Boulton introduced an insurance system for his workers that served as the model for later schemes, allowing his workers compensation in the event of injury or illness. The first of its kind in any large establishment, employees paid one-sixtieth of their wages into the Soho Friendly Society, membership in which was mandatory.
Despite time constraints imposed on him by the expansion of his business, Boulton continued his "philosophical" work (as scientific experimentation was then called). He wrote in his notebooks observations on the freezing and boiling point of mercury, on people's pulse rates at different ages, on the movements of the planets, and on how to make sealing wax and disappearing ink.
Boulton was widely involved in civic activities in Birmingham. His friend Dr John Ash had long sought to build a hospital in the town. A great fan of the music of Handel, Boulton conceived of the idea to hold a music festival in Birmingham to raise funds for the hospital. The festival took place in September 1768, the first of a series stretching well into the twentieth century.
Boulton helped deal with the shortage of silver, persuading the Government to let him overstrike the Bank of England's large stock of Spanish dollars with an English design.
On 29 May 2009 the Bank of England announced that Boulton and Watt would appear on a new £50 note. The design is the first to feature a dual portrait on a Bank of England note, and presents the two industrialists side by side with images of a steam engine and Boulton's Soho Manufactory.
Appleton book: Silver inkstand - two cut glass pots silver centre with snuffer. £2,000=00 paid.
No information available
w: 288, h: 126, d: 188