Contact Us

  • silla | antiques & art
  • (717) 708-9017
  • 117 W Burd St. Shippensburg, PA 17257

About us

silla was born out of a passion for beautiful objects: special pieces with aesthetic and historical significance. In 2009, after years of collecting, Andrew Silla and his wife Grace began to work privately with clients from their residence in Southern Maryland. Quickly outgrowing the space, the business was moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania in 2012 and after several warehouse location changes it was firmly settled in the present brick-and-mortar location in downtown Shippensburg.

The 9000 square foot brick-and-mortar gallery is home to a large collection of works of art and estate jewelry. We specialize in sculpture circa 1860 through 1930 with a particular emphasis on the Animaliers and as such the gallery always has a very large collection of exceptional European and American sculpture available on display.

Skip to main content

Rococo Gilt-Bronze and Malachite Encrier | 19th century


Regular Price: $8,500.00
Free Shipping
Adding to cart… The item has been added
   Absolutely love it, but price is holding you back?   NOTIFY ME OF A PRICE DROP!

catalog text

Circa 1880 | unmarked | of exceedingly fine quality
Item # 404XKP19B 

An exceedingly fine malachite veneered encrier (inkwell), it features ormolu mounts of the very highest quality with exquisite chiseling and a lovely matte gold surface; they have the most moving form, the foliage of the legs and apron moving with dramatic swells and curves exhibiting great personality and individuality.

The body of the inkwell is comprised of a gilt bronze that showcases a repeating fish-scale texture around the sides with ovular and circular porticos of malachite and foil-backed red glass while the top is extensively "bright-cut" engraved with fluid displays of foliage over a stippled ground with foil-backed glass in the corners around a center panel of malachite. This is flanked by flower dispalys on either side, the larger flowers with glass inkwell vessels inside - the smaller flower is likely intended as a pen-holder with some associated ink staining on the interior.

Rarely do we find a form that is as fresh and exciting as this extraordinary inkwell - it is such an eye-catching piece, a scarce acquisition.

The 19th century marked the golden age of Russian malachite, a period when the stone became a symbol of prestige and wealth. Russian newspapers of the time famously remarked that owning a substantial piece of malachite was akin to possessing diamonds, highlighting the stone's high value and desirability.

Russian tsars, benefiting from the relatively close proximity of malachite sources, adorned their palaces with lavish malachite decorations. The Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, for instance, featured malachite-paneled walls and intricate inlaid artworks. The Romanov treasury spent exorbitant amounts to secure the finest malachite, much of which was used to embellish Romanov palaces and create extravagant objets d'art.

Master craftsmen employed the "Russian mosaic" technique to work with malachite. This method involved cutting the stone into small plaques, melding them together, and polishing the surface to create the illusion of a single block of material. The natural veins of the stone added to this effect, while rich gilded bronze framings enhanced the overall visual appeal with striking light and contrast effects.

The close association of malachite with opulent luxury is further exemplified by the Hermitage Museum's extensive collection. Over 200 pieces of "palatial" malachite are displayed, most notably in the renowned Malachite Room. This collection underscores the opulence and refined taste characteristic of early 19th-century Russia.

Measurements: 5 1/8" H x 10 1/4" D x 13 1/8" W

Condition Report:
Minor tarnish and discoloration to mounts, otherwise exquisite original condition.