OK so it’s just the ghostly reflection of this wonderful silver inkstand. During the first decades of the 20th century, silver was relatively much more valuable. So it evoked a different quality than it does now. As you see in this piece, made by Josef Hoffmann, for Moriz Gallia, in Vienna in 1911. Gallia was one of the patrons of the Wiener Werkstatte. He must have stared in wonder at this object every time he picked up his pen. Just as we do now.
You can see this and many other silver treasures on display at the remarkable exhibition Vienna Art & Design which opens today at the National Gallery of Victoria. It’s one of those exhibitions where there’s too much for just one visit. Your background reading by Tim Bonyhady is here, and here (the book)…