Monday, December 15, 2014

Meerschaum Pipe Masterpiece dated 1856

The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) was a conflict in which Russia lost to an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, Egypt, Tunisia, France, Britain and Sardinia.

The Ottoman Empire, with the support of Egypt, declared war on Russia in October 1853 and within weeks suffered a major defeat that gave Russia control of the Black Sea. 

On November 18, 1853, the ‘Pervaz-i Bahri’ (a 10–gun paddle wheel steamer), was forced to strike her colors after a running battle with the Russian paddle wheel Frigate ‘Vladimir’ (painting by Alexey Bogoliubov).

12 days later the Egyptian Imperial Fleet was destroyed at Sinope along with the Ottoman fleet

The destruction of the Ottoman fleet at Sinope by Ivan Aivazovsky

Key to Russia's control of the Black Sea was its naval base at Sevastopol, on the Crimean peninsula.

Fuad Pacha, then Minister of Foreign Affairs in Constantinople,

"Fuad-Pacha, Kialib Effendi of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Ottoman Empire and Minister Plenipotentiary  at the Congress of Paris"

called upon Napoleon III of France

Portrait of Napoleon III (1808-1873)

and Queen Victoria of England 

Earliest known photograph of Victoria, here with her eldest daughter, c. 1845

to join the Ottoman Empire in an alliance signed by Sultan Abdulmecid I

The Allies: Sultan Abdulmecid I of the Ottoman Empire, Queen Victoria, and President of France Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte.

against Emperor Nicholas I of Russia.

Emperor Nicholas I. Portrait by Franz Krüger

The British and French fleets entered the Black Sea on January 3, 1854, to protect Turkish transports. On March 28 Britain and France declared war on Russia. 

British soldiers leaving for the Crimean War, February 1854

In September 1854 the allies landed troops in Russian Crimea, on the north shore of the Black Sea, 

and began a yearlong siege of the Russian fortress of Sevastopol.

Map of the French (blue) and British (red) lines during the siege. The defenders' positions are in green.

Siege of Sevastopol by Franz Roubaud

The siege of Sevastopol

 On January 26, 1855, the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont 

Sardinia in 1860

headed by Emperor Victor Emanuel II  

Emperor Victor Emanuel II would assume the title King of Italy on 17 March 1861 and become the first king of a united Italy. The Italians gave him the epithet Father of the Fatherland (Italian: Padre della Patria)

joined the alliance and sent 10,000 troops. Finally, on September 11, 1855, three days after a successful French assault on the Malakhov, a major strongpoint in the Russian defenses, 

Attack on the Malakoff by William Simpson, published shortly after the battle.

the Russians blew up the forts, sank the ships, and evacuated Sevastopol.

                     1911 historical war film about the Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War.                        
 This is Russia's first feature film.

Russia accepted preliminary peace terms on February 1, 1856. The Congress of Paris worked out the final settlement from February 25 to March 30. 

Edouard Louis Dubufe, Congrès de Paris, 1856, Palace of Versailles.

The resulting Treaty of Paris, signed on March 30, 1856, guaranteed the integrity of Ottoman Turkey and obliged Russia to surrender territories at the mouth of the Danube.

Russian battleships were banned from sailing the Black Sea, which drastically decreased their influence over the essential warm water port and the Danube River was opened to the shipping of all nations. 

Fuad Pacha represented the Ottoman Empire at the Congress of Paris. He offered this exceptional meerschaum pipe to a genovese Admiral who participated in the naval battles and siege of Sevastopol. 

The pipe stands 24 inches (60cm) tall.

From Vienna, Austria. (ex-Ramazzotti Collection)

Its silver cap is masterfully chiseled and inlaid with semi-precious stones.

Forty characters in bas-relief ornate the bowl and stem, depicting an epic battle reminiscent of the glorious feats of the legions of the Roman Empire.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wood Masterpiece Rothschild Colllection (7)

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

William Demuth Company (WDC) catalog, New York, ca. 1895

The William Demuth Company was a retail, wholesale, and import giant for more than 100 years. Started in 1861-1862 in New York City, by 1890, it was claimed that Demuth owned the largest pipe import, wholesale, and manufacturing business in the United States. When the briar became the pipe of choice, it produced 20th-century French briars of American craftsmanship and British lines, such as Milano, Royal Demuth, Demuth Gold Dot, WDC Triangle, W.D.C.-Hand-made, Stratford, Windsor, Aristocrat, Brighton, Snap-Kleen, and its most famous, Wellington (“The Universal Pipe”), a system pipe with a flared push bit. Magazine ads of the 1930s hailed the Royal Demuth as “the greatest pipe in 74 years of pipe making.”


In these few select pages of this catalog, the viewer can get a sensing of a small segment of its product line that ranged from “segars and smokers’ articles”—but no tobaccos—to show and cigar-store figures, walking sticks, signs, and other carved objects, rather peculiar adjuncts for a tobacconist.

Catalog images courtesy of John Adler.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Folk Art Carved Ash Burl Civil War Pipe

Elegantly carved folk art carved ash burl pipe with fluted tendrils and the names of three decisive battles, Chancellorsville

Battle of Chancellorsville by Kurz and Allison
(depicts the wounding of Confederate Lt. Gen. Stonewall Jackson on May 2, 1863)


The Battle of Gettysburg, by Thure de Thulstrup

and Fredericksburg

The Battle of Fredericksburg by Kurz and Allison.

with a conjoined USA on the chest. The pipe retains its original surface and maintains a rich patina and a carbonized interior from use.

Folk Art Carved Ash Burl Civil War Pipe / Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg
Circa: 1865
Size: 2 1/2" x 2 1/4"

A type written note states, "This pipe was made from a tree root, hand carved by the Great Grandfather of Mrs. Marjorie Davis (Dodge) while he was in a Confederate prison. Civil War 1861-1865."

The battles represented on this pipe account for heavy, HEAVY casualities! 

Group of Engineers and Draughtsmen, headquarters, Army of the Potomac," and are sporting some fine smoking accouterments. (Library of Congress).

The Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11–15, 1862), commanded by General Lee and Major General Burnside is remembered as one of the most one-sided battles of the war, with Union casualties more than twice as those suffered by the Confederates. 


The Battle of Chancellorsville (April 30 - May 6, 1863) is considered Lee's greatest tactical victory with the Union Army suffering more than 18,000 casualties, however the Confederate's General Stonewall Jackson was shot and died weeks later as a result. 


The Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863) where more than 57,000 Americans from both sides died or were wounded (including almost a third of General Lee's officers) is widely considered the decisive turning point for the Union.

Text and photos of pipe courtesy of Steven Powers.