I took these photos at a US auction house and they reflect the most frequent floral and geometric inlaid designs found on Ashford obelisks.
The first marble mill was established in 1748, but "in 1835 the industry was transformed when William Adam of Matlock, at the suggestion of the Duke of Devonshire who had seen Florentine mosaics while on a visit to Italy, introduced the art of inlaying." (From the Black Beauty of Ashford Marble published in Reflections Magazine 2004). They took off in popularity after the Great Exhibition of 1851, as Ashford marble was shown favor by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The factory remained in production until 1905.
"Today Ashford black marble ornaments are greatly prized collector’s items, and the dramatic beauty of it’s highly polished black surface still graces the counties stately homes at Chatsworth, Keddleston, Haddon, and Hardwick." (Same article as above).
The examples one finds today are generally around or under 24 inches tall. We did, however, see a very tall pair in London recently that were probably over 3 feet tall and gorgeous.
I took this photo at a London antique store. This has a classic geometric pattern on the obelisk with a floral inlaid pattern on the plinth, and stands about 20 inches tall.
The Buxton Museum in Derbyshire England has many examples of Ashford marble objects, including obelisks!
Ashford marble obelisks are wonderful and decorative collectors items!