Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Reineke Fuchs and Meerschaum Pipes

"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." [Ben Rapaport] 

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.

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