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85/412 Presentation inkstand, emu egg and silver, made by J M Wendt, Adelaide, South Australia, c. 1880. Click to enlarge.

Presentation inkstand by JM Wendt

This fine and rare inkstand was crafted in the workshop of J M Wendt, a prominent Adelaide firm of silversmiths, jewellers and retailers in the second part of the nineteenth century; the firm still trades today. It was established by Joachim Mattias Wendt (1830-1917) who came to Adelaide from Schleswig-Holstein in 1854 to establish an enduring and productive business first at Pirie Street and then in Rundle Street. (The duchies of Schleswig and Holstein were much fought over by Denmark and …


Object No.


Object Statement

Presentation inkstand, emu egg and silver, made by J M Wendt, Adelaide, South Australia, c. 1880

Physical Description

Ebonised oval wooden stand, surmounted by a flat fitted sheet of silver with repousse grasses, ferns and wild flowers, rising at the centre into a circular stem in the form of a tree trunk with six roots extending outwards around the base, branches emerging from its top. Fixed into its base, branches, two grazing emus, a standing bearded aboriginal cast in a loin cloth, his left foot raised on the body of a kangaroo, his right arm raised holding a boomerang, the left a club. Central stem is surmounted by an emu egg mounted horizontally, perforated on one side. Inside is a cast silver scene of a running emu and a hopping kangaroo beneath a tree. The hollow is lined with silver sheet bordered with a scrolled crosshatched silver frame with four lobes. The cover is surmounted by a finial in the form of a cockatoo with wings outstretched, cast in silver, on a branch on the reverse of the egg is a round silver stud which secures the inkwell within. Inscribed on a shield- shaped silver plaque attached to the stand: "To R.C. from R.C. in grateful recognition".



270 mm


270 mm


160 mm



Jochim Mathias Wendt (1830-1917) arrived in Australia in 1854. He established Wendt Jewellers in Adelaide in 1854 and began a career of over 30 years as a leading retailer and manufacturer of jewellery and silver. By 1887 Wendt's Rundle Street business was employing 12 craftspeople and assistants. Wendt retired in 1903 and the business was taken over by his Jule and stepson Herman Koeppen Wendt.



Richardson Campbell was the High Secretary of the Independent Order of Rechabites. The inkwell was presented to him by Robert Clerk, who was also a Rechabite of the Albert district of Australia. The Rechabite movement was widely represented in Australia and Robert Clerk went to England in 1905 for a conference. The former owner thinks that the inkwell was given to her grandfather at this time.


Credit Line

Purchased 1985

Acquisition Date

31 March 1985

Cite this Object


Presentation inkstand by JM Wendt 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 September 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Presentation inkstand by JM Wendt |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=27 September 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}