Black Basalt Inkstand
1810 - Wedgwood
After a colleague recommended that I study the Black Basalt series created by 18th century potting legend Josiah Wedgwood, I quickly made my way to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art where - lucky for me - one of two Black Basalt pieces in their collection happened to be on-view in gallery P12. (Due to limited space for general ceramics and pottery, they apparently rotate pieces quarterly - I might not have seen any Black Basalt at all!) The interpretation of an ancient Egyptian barge as inkstand is unique; thanks to Emporer Napoleon, 18th and early 19th century Europe developed quite a fascination with Egyptian themes. Other Black Basalt pieces I've seen via museum or auction sites bear either Egyptian or Etruscan classical themes, scenes, forms, and details.
As a young lad I read a biography of Benjamin Franklin and have been fascinated by America's "Enlightened" ever since. Learning that Franklin and Josiah Wedgwood were acquainted via mutual slave abolitionist philosophies, brings things full circle. (Not to mention that the friend who recommended the Black Basalt study is a Quaker.)