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About the object

A rare, whitewood novelty inkwell in the form of a lighthouse, painted to show the door, windows and brickwork. Contains a glass inkwell and sander.

Circa 1820

Lighthouse building had become a growth industry in the 19th century as a vast increase in overseas trade necessitated improved measures to protect shipping. At the same time holiday makers were heading for seaside locations and when close to a lighthouse, a visit became one of the attractions not to be missed.

One lighthouse, which attracted attention, was North Foreland between Margate and Broadstairs, where considerable alterations and repairs were carried out in 1792. Two stories of brick were added, raising it to 100 feet including the lantern room at the top. Around the lantern room was a gallery used by the lighthouse keeper to maintain the lights and also much frequented by visitors to Margate to look at the views.

It is no surprise that Tunbridge Ware makers took the opportunity to produce model lighthouses as an ideal souvenir for visitors.  Sadly not many seem to exist today, as they were no doubt costly to produce and probably relatively few were made. 

Dimensions

H 13.5cm

Stock number

W5894