NAMIKI: Pre-Dunhill Gateway and Mountain Landscape Maki-e & Aogai Fountain Pen, Original Namiki-Asprey Box and Nib, Signed by Shogo, Grade A, c.1925

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Lot 1127Ω
NAMIKI: Pre-Dunhill Gateway and Mountain Landscape Maki-e & Aogai Fountain Pen, Original Namiki-Asprey Box and Nib, Signed by Shogo, Grade A, c.1925

Sold for US$ 56,250 inc. premium
NAMIKI: Pre-Dunhill Gateway and Mountain Landscape Maki-e & Aogai Fountain Pen, Original Namiki-Asprey Box and Nib, Signed by Shogo, Grade A, c.1925
A remarkable pre-Dunhill A-grade fountain pen in the original box, co-branded by Asprey of London, featuring outstanding aesthetics. Asprey-branded Namikis enjoy particular favor among collectors and are significantly harder to find than Dunhill examples. Indeed, this is the first Namiki-Asprey pen that Bonhams has ever offered.

In 1925, prior to Namiki's famous collaboration with Alfred Dunhill Ltd., the company offered some of its foremost creations with prestigious Anglo-European retailers such as Asprey and Cartier. Although far less known than the Dunhill-Namiki affiliation, these exploratory ventures proved that there was an eager market in the West for high-end maki-e pens, and set the stage for celebrated Dunhill-Namiki partnership.

This important masterwork depicts a tranquil riverside gateway in the Japanese mountains. The gateway, river, trees and mountains are perfectly harmonized in plentiful gold and autumnal hues in a variety of techniques, including highly-raised shishi togidashi maki-e (the most advance level of maki-e craft), giving the pen a wonderfully tactile topographical dimension. Also utilized are okibirame technique (with large, individually-applied flakes of gold) and aogai, the most exacting form of mother-of-pearl technique. The cap features a 14K rolled gold band, which accentuates the golden gateway on the barrel and the golden river on the cap, and the gold dust extends to the nib section and feed, a voluptuous additional detail reserved for the greatest Namiki pens. Signed by Shogo Iijima, Namiki's first master penmaker. Excellent condition.

This instrument is prominently featured in the "Masterpieces" section of Hutt and Overbury's indispensable reference Namiki: The Art of Lacquer Pens, which devotes two pages to a close examination of the pen's virtues: "In terms of technical perfection it would be hard to find better examples than the work that was signed Shogo... One of the first stores to carry [Namiki] pens was the distinguished firm, Asprey of London. This pen is probably the prototype model for this particular design."

129mm. Classic Namiki "lifebuoy" lever. 14K gold #3 Asprey nib with heart-vent. Original leather over wood box, decorated in gilt, with yellow satin lining branded "Namiki" and imprinted with the Asprey crown insignia and "Asprey / 166 Bond St / London." Very rare.

Provenance: From the Collection of a Gentleman.

-Hutt, Julia & Stephen Overbury. Namiki: The Art of Japanese Lacquer Pens. [Toronto: 2000], pp. 42, 76-77, 152.
-Murakami, Tomihiro. Dunhill-Namiki and Lacquer Pens. [Sakura City: 2000], pp. 24, 60.
-Larquemin, Christophe. The Four Seasons of Namiki. [Paris: 2009], p. 198.
-Pepper, David. Pocket Masterpieces: Japanese Lacquered Pens. [Canada: 2009], unpaginated. This pen is illustrated in the book as a preeminent example of maki-e artistry.
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