234. Antique French Ormolu Bronze Desk Ink Set Encrier Acanthus Grand Tour Regency

Stunning French “Grand Tour” Ormolu & Patinated Bronze Desk Set, Encrier or Pentray, of outstanding quality and compact proportions, early Nineteenth Century, possibly Regency period. Complete with its original  decorative ormolu cover.

The lavish Acanthus Leaf cast main bronze body above a band of egg and dart moulding, ending on a spreading leaf cast base on a plain square platform. The cover with pierced leaf detail and an impressive lavish fruit finial. 

Condition: Good untouched condition with no losses. Some vertigris staining at base, see final image, original weighted wood panel underneath, lacking inkwells inside.  

Height: (entire as shown on main image) 4.25" (11cm). Width: (at base) 4.5" (11.5cm). Depth: (at base) 3.25” (8.5cm). 

The Grand Tour has long been a symbol of wealth and freedom. In the late 16th century, it became quite fashionable for young aristocrats to visit Italy and France, as the finishing touch on their classical education. Travel was arduous and costly during this time and possible only for a privileged class, and thus the Grand Tour lasted until the 19th century, when railways across Europe allowed for easier travel. While these travels were very popular with the English, they were also undertaken by other Northern Europeans as well as Americans.  


The Grand Tour was developed out of the idea of travelling for the sake of curiosity and cultural development. These travels not only provided a cultural education but it also allowed wealthier Grand Tourists an opportunity to purchase items unavailable at home, and it thus increased the travellers social standing and prestige. Travellers would return with crates of books, paintings, sculpture, and other cultural goods, which would be displayed in libraries, gardens, and purpose built galleries in their homes.  

A large number of artists Such as Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canalletto) benefited from the patronage of the Grand Tour, as travelers purchased souvenirs.