Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pipes from around the world in the 1880s

Albert Charles Auguste Racinet (1825-1893), lithographer and draftsman, compiled 500 plates into a multi-album book set titled "le Costume Historique" (1877 and 1888). 

Six of the 500 plates in the book set (five in vibrant polychrome colors and one in ecru) illustrate tobacco pipes: Europe (1); Asia (3); and Africa (2). 

The legend accompanying these six plates indicates that these pipes once belonged to a certain Baron de Watteville (1824-1901), Chief of France’s Depôt des Livres and the Director of Sciences and Letters in the French Ministry of Public Instruction. 

Later research has revealed that his pipes -- some, not all -- were donated to the Chateau Oberhofen, the Historic Museum of Berne, Switzerland, and can be seen by appointment.

Oberhofen, engraved by A. Cross, 1878, London

These six prints are considered the best of breed in authentic and original pipe art, if for no other reason, in imagery, collectively, they represent the world of smoking utensils.


Asia (see the Silver-plated Copper Pipe article for details)





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