Wednesday, October 5, 2016

J. Sommer Meerschaum Cheroot Holder ca 1900

J. Sommer,

Aux Carrières d'Ecume

established 13 & 15 Passage des Princes, Paris

Built in 1860 Passage des Princes is a stone's throw from the Palais Garnier opera house and the large Parisian departments stores

received a Gold Medal at the Exposition Universelle, Paris 1900.

Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900, Harpers Magazine

The international jury

was all praise...

MM. Sommer frères are the principal manufacturers in France of meerschaum pipes and cheroot holders and amber cigarette holders; they also manufacture in briar root, with amber stems, of top quality. Their pieces have a real artistic cachet and are appreciated for their quality of finish. Among the pieces on display by MM. Sommer frères and the sculpture of which was particularly admired, we will mention the pipes with iris flowers, a tulip in art-nouveau style, a superb african head and a few others, owing to the talent of true artists.

The iris was a favorite of Art Nouveau artists,

Magnolias and Irises Panel is based on an original Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848–1933), Metroplolitan Museum

Iris Brooch, c. 1900-1901, Tiffany & Co

French Art Nouveau Bronze Iris Candlestick by Jozon

This cheroot holder of an iris flower bud unfurling its petals marks the apogee of French meerschaum carvers' finesse and elegance around the turn of the century.

6.5" length 3." height

A close-up reveals the almost translucent meerschaum,

Marked Gold Medals 1878, 1889 & 1900.

(Courtesy of a Private Collection)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wood Masterpiece Rothschild Colllection (12)

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Majestic Meerschaum Pipe

This truly remarkable work of art, 

is comprised of a scalloped meerschaum bowl, a long, turned amber push stem with silver retaining chain, and vermeil* wind cover, finial, and shank collar. The overall dimension is 40 cm. in height and the bowl is 22 cm. in height.

This pipe had to have been made as a very special order for a Near East potentate, or a very rich pasha. The clue: note the seated, turbaned gentleman. 

It is signed by Maurice Mayer who became, in 1846, the official silversmith of French Emperor Napoleon III.


*Vermeil is silver that has been plated with 22K-24K gold.


Courtesy of the João Pavão Martins Collection

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Nubian Prince

A most unusual pipe, considering the amount, degree and unusual type of decor applied, such as brass and semi-precious jewels. This (we assume) Nubian male must have been a well regarded nobleman. 

 Notice the open mouth and the several teeth? This is an indicator of a more deft hand at work.

The pipe was one of more than 200 pieces auctioned at Torino, Italy (http://www.SANCARLOASTE.IT/), at the end of March 2012.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Wood Masterpiece Rothschild Colllection (11)

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Blanc Garin Catalog 1838

On the 16th of June, 1834, Jean-Claude Blanc Garin and Jean Baptiste Guyot set up their clay pipe making operations in close proximity to the Gambier compound in the French town of Givet.

in 1838, Blanc Garin became the first pipe manufacturer in Givet to print a catalog.

(Lith. L. Lacourt à Givet)
With a price list for 271 models.


The preface written by Marie-Thérèse Blanc Garin demonstrates an aggressive commercial vision, some of it squarely directed at Gambier:

"The manufacture of pipes known around the world under the name Veuve Blanc Garin employs around 120 workers who manufacture 15 to 20,000 pipes a day. 

The collection of its models is composed of what is the most novel as of today and a selection of those is presented in this catalog.

Its vast and convenient location made it possible to double the number of its workers without the quality of its product ever being affected.

The kilns, built using a new process, bake with a whiteness and sharpness that can not be found in most other manufacturers given that those manufacturers use coal ("charbon de terre") for the baking.

The belgian pipes marked 46 PV and JC are of particular interest given their ability to easily season ("facilité à culotter"), fast and black. The clay is imported from Belgium and Holland with the utmost care and cleanliness.

Its warehouses being always abundantly stocked with pipes of all kinds allow for prompt shipping of purchase orders which are fulfilled with exactitude and without inclusion of products that were not ordered.

The breadth of its trading across France and foreign countries is a proof of the superiority of its products that compete with those of other manufacturers on the very grounds on which those other manufacturers stand.

The shipping crates are very well finished and constructed from poplar wood or fir tree: in one word, no detail is neglected so that ladies and gentlemen merchants and customers be satisfied."

Voltaire. N° 245, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

L'enragé de 93, N° 235, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

Robert Macaire, N° 237, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

La Chouette. N°226, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

Bédouin. N° 233, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

Les Pochards, n. 222 Courtesy Amsterdam Pipe Museum

n. 222 Courtesy Amsterdam Pipe Museum

Napoléon. N° 205, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

Aigle sur Bicorne. N° 252, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

Bayard, n. 243 Courtesy Amsterdam Pipe Museum

Le Diable. N° 241, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

Ecaillère. N°251, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

Lion debout (Indépendance Belge). N° 257, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

Marion De L'Orme, N° 254, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

Mathieu Lamberg, Astronomer. N°258, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection

Ali Pacha. N° 262, Courtesy Piasa/Mazaleyrat Collection