Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Barton's Beauty


It is not often that we collectors encounter an unusual or eye-popping, jaw-dropping meerschaum pipe, but, occasionally, we do. There are not enough descriptive adjectives in the English language to assign to this monumental meerschaum pipe. It is a carver's liberal interpretation of the mythical Poseidon (Neptune), God of the seas. This statuesque carving is 8-½" in height.







 

It once belonged to an exceptionally devoted antique pipe collector, J. Trevor Barton of England, who passed away in 2008. 






It was in the auction in London at Christie's in September 2010, described as "Carved with a figure of Poseidon, nereids, and sea horses, gilt silver and coral mounted, inscribed ST. FRENZEL, Wien, the finial of Poseidon at rest in a grotto, amber mouthpiece." 






In our opinion, the catalog description did not give this exquisite sculpture its due respect. It is an absolute marvel in balance, detail, and finesse, with in-the-round carving throughout. 






Not surprisingly, a successful bidder appreciated this fine specimen. The House estimate was $2,300 - $3,800. The lucky bidder purchased it for $13,606!


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fantastical Smoking Set








This is probably not a salesman’s kit, more likely a custom-configured, special order set--nested in a fitted leather case with locking mechanism--for a gentleman pipe smoker.



Accompanying the three mid-19th Century meerschaum pipe bowls are three different, interchangeable push stems and their associated mouthpieces.
 



A very interesting aspect is the mix of materials that comprises each stem: ivory, amber, gilt- and silver-inlay on mother-of-pearl, silver cutwork, turned buffalo horn, piqué work, niello, and silk thread tassels … quite an assortment that hints that this set was probably very pricey in its day.




Prob. German or Austrian, c. 1850-1860.


Courtesy of the João Pavão Martins Collection


Monday, October 30, 2017

Posters, Pipes and Politics



Propaganda Posters UK Elections Blowing Bubbles Lloyd George. Cartoon image of David Lloyd George (1863-1945; Liberal politician, British Prime Minister 1916-1922), dressed as a clown blowing bubbles from a bowl marked Soft Soap with a pipe, the words Promises - Bluff - More Promises - Blarny rising as reflections inside the bursting bubbles and a quote "I am perpetually blowing bubbles" below. Artwork by the English illustrator and cartoonist, Leonard Raven-Hill (1863-1945). Published by Dobson Molle & Co. Ltd, St Clair Works, Edinburgh and St Steven's House, Westminster SW1. 1920s. Author: L Ravenhill. Size (cm): 76x50.5cm



We will conquer the drought. Stalin is in his white uniform smoking a pipe held in his left hand. He appears preoccupied and his eyes are focused on a part of the USSR suffering from the drought. He is holding a green pencil in his right hand and the green lines on the map indicate that a solution is being devised as we see...



The pipe in this poster is Harold Wilson's. Such was the Labour Prime Minister’s fame as a pipe smoker that in 1966 most British voters understood that the pipe stood for him





Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Storied Bull Head



This large bull head is on the cover of the Wiener Kunst Auction as Lot 307. It is a super-sized, high-relief-carved 19th-century figural pipe with amber horns. To get a sense of its size, its height is 33 cm (almost 13 inches).  





Around the shank is a circumscribed ribbon of bas-relief-carved cowboys on horses lassoing bulls.






In The New York Times, March 9, 1889 we find a closely matching description: “Another beautiful piece of work is being completed by the same firm [William Demuth Company] for the Paris Exposition. 


WDC


"It is said to be the largest pipe in the world, the bowl having been cut from the largest piece of meerschaum ever found. It is a calf’s head, 11 inches high, 13 inches long, and 15 inches from tip to tip of the horns. The design is from a picture by Rosa Bonheur."

 
Photograph of Rosa Bonheur by André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri, c. 1863


The entire pipe is 35 inches long, the stem, of 23 inches, being made of 75 pieces of amber.”


Head of a Bull by Marie-Rosalie Bonheur, (16 March 1822 – 25 May 1899), animalière and sculptor
 

This bowl was once a centerpiece component of the “Half-and-Half” pipe collection assembled by the American Tobacco Company in the late 1800s—early 1900s, and exhibited at its Richmond, VA  plant. 






When the plant closed in 1957, it donated the collection to the city’s Valentine Museum



The John Wickham House/Valentine Museum, Richmond, VA; from a c. 1920


Portions of the collection were on exhibit from time to time between then and early 1991 when the Valentine decided to deaccession the collection. 

The Austrian Tobacco Museum, Vienna, purchased it later that year . It left the series of Presidential pipes (see the Facebook album, “Presidential Meerschaum Pipes”) in the hope that an American collector would buy them as a group. This Austrian museum shuttered in 2002. In October of that year, a large portion of this museum’s European holdings (pipes and accessories sourced to European craftsmen) and the entire “”Half-and-Half” collection was sold (Wiener Kunst Auktionen Nr. 41, October 22-23, 2002). 

Sadly, sometime between 1991 and 2002, the extraordinary, multifaceted, long amber stem and mouthpiece that was original to this pipe bowl had been misplaced, lost, or destroyed, because the bowl was on the auction block without its stem. The hammer price was 5,000 Euros, or about $5,500. 

After a long journey, it is believed that this bowl now resides in a private European collection.  




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Reclining Beauty



Late 19th century cheroot holder set,








Undeniable elegance,








and finesse...







of Viennese manufacture.

 

Monday, October 9, 2017

La Pipe by Stéphane Mallarmé (1897)







Yesterday I found my pipe while pondering a long evening of work, of fine winter work. Thrown aside were my cigarettes, with all the childish joys of summer, into the past which the leaves shining blue in the sun, the muslins, illuminate, and taken up once again was the grave pipe of a serious man who wants to smoke for a long while without being disturbed, so as better to work: but I was not prepared for the surprise that this abandoned object had in store for me; for hardly had I drawn the first puff when I forgot the grand books I was planning to write, and, amazed, moved to a feeling of tenderness, I breathed in the air of the previous winter which was now coming back to me. I had not been in contact with my faithful sweetheart since returning to France, and now all of London, London as I had lived it a year ago entirely alone, appeared before my eyes: first the dear fogs that muffle one’s brains and have an odor of their own there when they penetrate beneath the casements. My tobacco had the scent of a somber room with leather furniture sprinkled by coal dust, on which the thin black cat would curl and stretch; the big fires! and the maid with red arms pouring coals, and the noise of those coals falling from the sheet-iron bucket into the iron scuttle in the morning—when the postman gave the solemn double knock that kept me alive! Once again I saw through the windows those sickly trees of the deserted square—I saw the open sea, crossed so often that winter, shivering on the deck of the steamer wet with drizzle and blackened from the fumes—with my poor wandering beloved, decked out in traveler’s clothes, a long dress, dull as the dust of the roads, a coat clinging damply to her cold shoulders, one of those straw hats with no feather and hardly any ribbons that wealthy ladies throw away upon arrival, mangled as they are by the sea, and that poor loved ones refurbish for many another season. Around her neck was wound the terrible handkerchief that one waves when saying goodbye forever.



 
Portrait of Stéphane Mallarmé by Edouard Manet (1876)























Monday, October 2, 2017

Posters and Pipes



Advertising poster by Rene Pean (Rene Louis Pean; 1875-1940) for Paris a Londres par Rouen, Dieppe et Newhaven - departs tous le jours de la Gare St Lazare - Chemins de Fer de l'Ouest et de Brighton / Paris to London via Rouen, Dieppe and Newhaven - train departures every day from Gare St Lazare - Western Railways (Chemins de fer de l'Ouest; 1855-1909) and Brighton (London, Brighton and South Coast Railway / LB&SCR / The Brighton Line; 1846-1922). Great image featuring a man smoking a pipe and holding a whip, sitting on top of a London horse drawn cab carriage with a blanket over his legs, with a street view leading towards silhouette buildings and St Paul's Cathedral in the background. France, 1900s
Dimensions: 102x67 centimetres.
Artist or Maker: Rene Pean

Advertising poster for Ster Tabak - Tabak der Sterren / Tobacco of the Stars - featuring an image of three Hollywood silent movie stars, including Harold Lloyd (1893-1971), smoking their pipes. Royal Theodorus Niemeyer was a Dutch tobacco manufacturer (founded 1819; now part of British American Tobacco). Very good condition, light folds, tape marks on reverse. Belgium, 1920s
Dimensions: 61x45.5 centimetres.





CHARLES GESMAR (1900-1928) Size: 46 1/2 x 62 1/4 in./118.2 x 158 cm Imp. H. Chachoin, Paris Ooh, what is that you're smoking, mi'lady? One of the rarest of Gesmar’s designs for Mistinguett, this image shows her flirtatiously smoking a pearl-encrusted pipe, glancing coyly – or is that warily? – over her shoulder. She's shown in the "Bonjour Paris" revue of 1924-25. Gesmar also designed her costumes, beginning at the age of 16. (Art Deco; Entertainment; Artist: Gesmar) ca. 1924


Cunard cruise ship travel poster advertising Cunard Canadian Services - Golden Prospects - featuring a stunning image of a smiling couple looking out to sea from the deck of a ship, the lady wearing a hat and scarf billowing in the wind and the man wearing a cap and holding a pipe pointed towards clouds depicting the New World "golden prospects" that await them in Canada - farming, horses, grazing cattle, wheat harvesting, skiing, canoeing etc. Cunard Line was founded in 1840 when they also launched Britannia, their first Transatlantic liner that offered regular services across the Atlantic Ocean between the UK and Europe to America and Canada; they are now the only shipping company to still offer this regular passenger service between Europe and North America. UK, 1930s
Dimensions: 101x62 centimetres.




P&O cruise line poster advertising cruises To Australia for £37 one class service. Great image featuring a smiling man smoking a pipe and wearing a hat, pointing towards Australia and the sun on the horizon over fields and trees with stylised text above and information text below. Artwork by the British artist, Raphael T Roussel (1883-1967). UK, 1930s
Dimensions: 102x64.5 centimetres.



Travel advertising poster for the Sudbahnhotel in Semmering featuring a great Art Deco style image of people skiing down the slopes in front of the imposing grand hotel with snowy mountains on the horizon and snow topped trees on the sides with a group of skiers relaxing in the foreground, one man smoking a pipe and the others holding their wooden skis and poles. Artwork by the Austrian artist, Hermann Kosel (1896-1983). The Sudbahnhotel (South Railway Hotel) was opened in 1882 and is located in Semmering, a popular tourist destination noted for hiking, winter sports and spa. Austria, 1930s 



Travel advertising poster in Spanish for the Canary Islands / Islas Canarias edited and published by the General Direction of Tourism. Colourful illustration showing two hikers dressed in red, one standing with a walking stick and pointing towards the view and the other sitting on a rock and smoking a pipe looking at the mountains on the horizon, a cactus and tree in the foreground and the text below in stylised letters. Printed in Spain by I.G. Seix Barral HMS S.A., Barcelona. Spain, 1930s
Dimensions: 99.5x62 centimetres.
 



Travel advertising poster for the Simplon Railway Line - Switzerland, Ligne du Simplon. La plus directe et la plus pittoresque (the most direct and most picturesque). Fun image of a gentleman wearing a cap and smoking a pipe showing at the map of the train route connecting London, Paris, Vallorbe, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Fribourg, Bern, Lausanne, Aigle, Martigny, Bex, Sierre, Sion, Brigue, Geneva, Vevey and Montreux then through the Simplon tunnel to Domodossola, Milan, Venice, Genova, Rome, Sofia, Beograd, Bucharest, Athens, Istanbul, Alep, Baghdad, Jerusalem and Cairo with images of the mountains, churches, Lac Leman and the Pyramids. Printed by R Marsens, Lausanne, for Commission Romande de la Ligne du Simplon. Switzerland, 1951 100x64.5 centimetres.


Advertising poster in German for Gold Dollar cigarettes – The real seaman's blend / Gold Dollar Cigaretten – Das echte Seemannskraut. Great image showing a sailor in uniform walking along the docks carrying a bag and a bird cage with a smiling young lady walking beside him clutching his arm, an older sailor smoking a pipe and another sailor embracing a young lady behind them with sailing ships at sea and anchored in the background, inside a rope style border with a smaller image below featuring a man sitting on a cigarette packet playing music on an accordion and the text in stylised black, yellow and red letters. Germany, 1950s




Travel advertising poster in French: Bien-etre en Autriche (Well Being in Austria) featuring a colourful stylised image of a couple relaxing - the lady wearing a bright yellow top and the man wearing a red top and holding a smoking pipe - sitting on a bench inside a warm wooden chalet by the window with icicles hanging down from the top, looking out at a horse drawn carriage and skiers in front of a snowy village scene with a church spire in the middle and mountain peaks visible in the distance, the text below in stylised red letters. Printed in Austria for The Austrian Federal Government by Gistel & Cie., Vienna. Austria, 1950s
Dimensions: 95x63.5 centimetres. Artist or Maker: Atelier Koszler



travel poster advertising New England by American Airlines. Great image featuring a plane flying by trees behind a white church and a sailing ship with a large anchor and sailor on board and a pipe smoking captain on the dock below with wooden boxes and fishing pots.USA, 1950s
Dimensions: 101.5x76.5 centimetres.
Artist or Maker: Ben Hill





Travel poster issued for the South African Travel Corporation featuring a fun and colourful image of a man wearing a hat and sunglasses, smoking a pipe and carrying a camera around his neck, holding a fishing rod with the bottom half of his body a fish and tail.  South Africa, 1950s
Dimensions: 101.5x64 centimetres.


British Railways travel advertising poster for Lewes the county town of East Sussex - go there by train - featuring a view down the high street in this ancient historical town located in South England. Colourful image with a scissor grinder wearing a hat and smoking a pipe on his work bike with more cyclists and pedestrians on the street and pavements behind him, two ladies pushing their prams, a truck negotiating a tight corner and medieval timber framed buildings and colourful buildings (possibly The Fifteenth Century Bookshop on the corner of the High Street and the cobbled Keere Street). Artwork by the notable British artist, Terence Cuneo (1907-1996), who was appointed the official artist at Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953. Cuneo is most well known for his equestrian, military and railroad paintings (many of which were used as posters to promote British Railways). UK, 1955
Dimensions: 102x63.5 centimetres. Artist or Maker: Terence Cuneo

BERNARD VILLEMOT (1911-1989) Size: 46 1/2 x 63 7/8 in./118.2 x 162.3 cm With a pitch-perfect feeling for the optimistic, whimsical zeitgeist of 1956, Villemot gives us a carnival of Tabalux tobacco rising up in an arc of cigarette smoke. Our floating fedora-fitted head, 'in the pink,' has a satisfied grin and saucer-eyes made out of pipe bowls too.  (Tobacco; Modern)
Dimensions: 46 1/2 x 63 7/8 in./118.2 x 162.3 cm
1956





JEAN CARLU (1900-1997) Size: 24 1/2 x 39 1/4 in./62.3 x 99.6 cm Imp Courbet, Paris The travel poster for poster fans, made by a poster master. Jean Carlu, who received credit as an AD for the following Air France image, has all the icons in a motley of colors: Spanish guitar, Nordic fjords, a Greek amphora, a Leaning Tower of Pisa, a Bavarian stein and a smoking pipe... Interestingly, though, our poster-posting traveler atop the ladder is unrolling a blank slate. Time to try an off-the-wall idea... and explore Europe for real. (Aviation)
Dimensions: 24 1/2 x 39 1/4 in./62.3 x 99.6 cm Artist or Maker: JEAN CARLU (1900-1997) 1959