Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Reineke Fuchs and Meerschaum Pipes

As Ben Rapaport tells us "Reynard is the subject of a literary cycle of allegorical French, Dutch, English, and German fables largely concerned with Reynard, an anthropomorphic red fox and trickster figure with various spellings of Renard, Renart, Reinard, Reinecke, Reinhardus, Reynardt, and Reynaerde."

In France, fables known as the Roman de Renart appeared as early as the 12th century,

Roman de Renart, BNF, Paris; Ms fr.12584, folio 18v-19r

Illumination from a manuscript of the Roman de Renart, end of the 13th century
in the Netherlands they were known as Van den vos Reynaerde

A studious fox in a monk's cowl, in the margins of a Book of Hours, Utrecht, c 1460

De vos als pelgrim, Reynke de Vos, Lübeck 1498.

De streken van Reintje van der Schalk, Markies van Eijerstruiven, circa 1840, Facsimile

and in Germany, they were known as Reineke Der Fuchs.

Deutsch: Copperplate 90 x 120 cm (~ 1650) of Allart van Everdingen

The best account is Reineke Fuchs (1793) written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Romantik, Biedermeier Period, Richter, Adrian Ludwig, 1840

Illustrationen von Wilhelm von Kaulbach, 1846

Here are three carvings German meerschaum pipe carvers executed around 1850-1870 were inspired by the illustration of Reineke Fuchs by Wilhelm von Kaulbach.

Courtesy Sarunas & Darius Peckus

Courtesy Sarunas & Darius Peckus

Courtesy Sarunas & Darius Peckus

Reineke Fuchs enjoying himself in his larder

Courtesy Reineke Fuchs Sammlung, Germany

For more delicate meerschaum and wood carvings similarly inspired by the Kaulbach etchings of Reineke Fuchs, we recommend the book by Sarunas & Darius Peckus entitled The Story of Reineke Fuchs, A Collector's "pipe" Dream.

For anyone intrigued by the broader influence of the fable of Reineke Fuchs on arts and crafts, there is a private museum run by Friedrich von Fuchs entirely devoted to Reynard.  It’s the Reineke Fuchs Museum in Linden-Leihgestern, Germany ( that contains about 2,000 exhibits, including books, engravings, three-dimensional objects in porcelain, meerschaum, ivory, glass, ceramics, wood, and leather. As the Website reports:

Fox-Porcelain from the production of more than thirty different manufactures (e.g. Allach, Copenhagen, Meißen, Nymphenburg up to Zeh Scherzer & Co.) is presented there. Foxes in silver, copper and vienna bronce, the variety is inexhaustible. Noble pipes, walking sticks, chess pieces from ivory and meerschaum artists used to make copies of the fox... As an special highlight of the exhibition 185 different original editions concerning Reynard the Fox since 1752 and many first editions, among them the Goethe Reynard the Fox from 1794, can be seen. Stucco work, monuments, mosaics and many other immovable works of art, with the fox as topic and scattered over Europe, are recorded in pictures.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

An 18th century Wedgwood chibouk pipe.

by Arjan de Haan

Even a seasoned pipe collector will occasionally stumble upon a pipe that is more than simply a nice addition to one’s collection; an item that rouses curiosity and stimulates one to find out more about the object in question thereby turning the collector into a detective.

Recently the author came across just such a pipe shaped like a chibouk and in jasperware. 

The pipe is made of pale blue jasper with very fine white appliques. 

The walls of the pipe bowl are remarkably thin 

 and the whole is finely executed.

The shape is very unusual since most collectors will think of the typical “Staite’s Patent” Wedgwood pipes. These are the pipes with the acorn shaped plugs on the underside of the bowl, apparently meant as a nicotine trap. 
This pipe however has the precise dimensions of early Ottoman clay pipe bowls from around 1800.

Some initial investigating quickly yielded an article about Wedgwood pipes written by Ben Rapaport showing several pipes from the collection of Sarunas Peckus. This article gave a tantalizing lead since it reproduced two photographs from an old book on collecting named “Bye-paths in curio collecting” written by Arthur Hayden and first published in 1919. 

The first photograph shows a group of Wedgwood pipes from the Etruria museum which has now become the Wedgwood museum in Barlaston and is attached to the Wedgwood factory there. Two of these pipes are “Staite’s Patent” pipes, one appears to be a hookah bowl and the other four are typical chibouk pipes. 

According to Hayden these pipes were all made between 1795 and 1810.

The second photograph proved even more exciting since it shows 8 drawings from early Wedgwood pattern books. The drawings all depict chibouk pipe models which in most cases are identical to pipes made in the Ottoman empire around 1800. The bottom two pipes are the most exciting since they are clearly jasperware pipes and the one on the bottom right is a virtually exact drawing of the pipe that stimulated the initial research into Wedgwood pipes. According to Hayden these drawings are dated ca. 1781.

The book where these photographs were first printed was meant as an inspiration for both novice and seasoned collectors to discover new subjects to collect. It is an interesting time-piece and gives some insight into how collecting was viewed at the beginning of the 20th century. The following paragraph is the full text on Wedgwood pipes from this book. 

“Wedgwood Tobacco Pipe Heads.-Among the miscellaneous articles made at Etruria are found some that may have escaped the attention of the collector. The fine jasper bell-pulls are known, and one of white, green, and lilac, is illustrated in Professor Church’s monograph on Josiah Wedgwood: Master Potter published in 1903. They are made to admit of the old silken rope passing through them. There are other minor objects of Wedgwood ware to which attention might be given, watch-backs, earrings, opera-glass mounts, taper-holders and scent bottles in jasper ware of different hues and tints. The illustration (p. 399) shows a page from the old pattern book of a series of “pipe heads” by Wedgwood. In the catalogue of Wedgwood and Bentley’s productions in 1781 mention is made of “pipe Heads to use with reeds” and these examples are of that period. The three in the top row and the two on the left  in the second row were made in black basalt or in red body. The two in the bottom row were made in jasper, probably only in blue and white. The rough drawing interpolated in the second row is taken from an old “ shape book “ drawn by Daniel Greatbach, 1770 to 1795, overseer at the jasper ornamental works. Th is example, as the manuscript note shows, was made in cream colour with red and black dipped. The other illustration shows examples at the museum at Etruria, all of the Wedgwood and Byerley period 1795 to 1810. It is interesting to note that in 1780 these pipe heads were used with reeds. It is possible they were used with dried reeds cut from Josiah’s own canal. It is a curious sidelight on past customs, and one wonders why the habit has been discontinued. The meerschaum head and the long cherry wood pipe were the next stage ; the long “churchwarden “ was a variety in common use by connoisseurs when pipe smoking was more a matter of otium cum dignitate than it is now. In the illustration of the museum examples the two on the left  of each row were made in blackbasalt ; all the others were made in red, with the exception of the smallest pipe head which wasin pale blue. The specimen with the continuation beneath it is termed “Staite’s Patent.” We do not now know what that patent was, but it suggests similar ideas once on the market where a receptacle beneath the bowl was intended to receive the noxious nicotine . The writer is reminded of a youthful Figure 3; The second photograph of the Hayden article. Original text with this photograph: “OLD WEDGWOOD TOBACCO PIPE HEADS. Designs from old pattern book at Museum at Etruria ; date about 1781.”Page 8 smoker of a pipe of this nature who accidentally drew in a mouthful of pure nicotine, and had to be revived by doses of nux vomica and strong coffee. It will be observed that a screw is attached to this, as shown by the right hand example on lower row, also a “Staite’s Patent.” Some of the examples are marked ~Wedgwood,” but not all, and there is considerable scope for the collector to disinter old specimens.”

This initial discovery of the jasperware chibouk pipe as well as this quaint publication have stimulated a deeper investigation which will in some time lead to a full length article on Wedgwood pipes.

If you have Wedgwood pipes in your collection or if you have information on the factory please contact the author, Arjan de Haan at:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Altlas Meerschaum Pipe

Atlas, in Greek mythology, son of the nymph Clymene and Titan Lapetus,

 brother of Prometheus 

Prometheus, relief from the Temple of Aphrodite at Aphrodisias

fought with the Titans in the war against the Olympic deities.

Farnese Atlas (National Archeological Museum, Naples, Italy)

As punishment, he was condemned to bear forever the heavens on his back. 

Courtesy Private Collection

8.5" l., 3.5" h. 

Courtesy Private Collection

(Courtesy of a Private Collection)

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.