Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The European Porcelain Tobacco Pipe

A recently published book by Dr. Sarunas Peckus and Ben Rapaport provides  a wonderfully illustrated and informed perspective on the introduction, evolution and eventual eclipse of the porcelain pipe in Europe.

From the masterpieces of the early days,

Elegant example of a nineteenth century gesteckpfeife. The bowl's gilt-rimmed portrait is of a refined couple in period dress, gilt windcover and embossed gilt fittings, ivory reservoir, turned ivory and flexible horsehair stem and ivory mouthpiece. C. 1825-1850. Courtesy Peckus & Rapaport

to pipes integral to the life of the German student,

Very large (14" tall) student bowl illustrating a fox (Fuchs) holding a porcelain pipe in one hand, and a sword in the other. The fox, denoting a first year university student, wears a special Mutze(Tonnchen) matching sash (Band) and saber hilt in the official German colors - black, red and gold- originally the colors of an 1820 Jena University fraternity. Given its large size, this may have been a bowl used in the rituals of communal smoking, c. 1850. Courtesy Peckus & Rapaport

to Coats of Arms,

A rare coincidence! Each bowl has a different family crest, but the three have something in common, their inscription; a gift of friendship to the same member of nobility in the same year. Left to Right: "F. v. Rauch zu seinem Freund graf Pourtales, Bonn 1843"; "W.v. Morsey zu seinem Freund Graf  Pourtales, Bonn 1843"; "A.v. Saldern zu seinem Freund Graf Pourtales,Bonn 1843". Courtesy Peckus & Rapaport

to Militaria,

Although the precise battle and the combattants are not known, it may depict one of the military campaigns of hristian Europe's War, the Cruisades. This exquisitely executed panorama illustrates the violence, depravity, collective brutality and the human toll of war, c. 1825-1850. Courtesy Peckus & Rapaport

to Commemorative scenes,

Exacting adaptation from the baroque by Christofano Allori " Guiditta  con la Testa di Oloferne" (Judith with the Head of Holofernes) relating how the Hebrew widow, Judith, beheaded Nebuchadnezzar's general, c. 1840-1850. Courtesy Peckus & Rapaport

 to Classicism,

Art Nouveau and Art Deco motifs on porcelain pipe bowls were not the fare of nineteenth or twentieth century German factories. This bewitching female, attired in the roaring twenties, flapper-style couture and holding a seashell to her right ear, is a rarity, an anomaly. Bowl and photograph courtesy Roy Ricketts Collection. Courtesy Peckus & Rapaport

to Beasts, Blooms, Birds and Bugs,

Finely painted bowl replete with insects and fluted silver wind cover attributed to Nurnberg's Johann Leonhard Geise, prob. Bruckberg, c. 1825, Bowl courtesy Wolfgang Cremer Collection; Peter Baum, Idstein, Germany, photographer. Courtesy Peckus & Rapaport

to Character and Carnival Motifs,

Polychromatic figural bust of Louis XIII, seventeenth-century King of France and King of Navarre, Porcelaine de Paris, c. 1840. Bowl, Daniel Mazaleyrat Collection; photograph courtesy Arnaud Thomasson and Guillaume Deprez. Courtesy Peckus & Rapaport

and miscellany of atypical but no less striking pipes...

Truly stunning example of a moulded figural pipe representing an eastern bey, mogul, potentate. or sultan dressed in stylish haute couture. The turban, caftan, and the chibouque-style pipe are accented with appliquéd  gilt buttons. Another refinement is the coloring bowl reminiscent of an attachment to yesterday's meerschaum pipes or cheroot holders, prob. French, late nineteenth century. Courtesy Peckus & Rapaport

Overall 145 photos take the reader on a visual journey through 250 years of porcelain pipe manufactory in France and Germany anchored in scholarly historical research. 

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