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Tobacco and porcelain

First produced by Johann Friedrich Böttger in 1708, white hard-paste porcelain became one of the most important materials used in pipe-making.
Some of the first inventories at the Meissen manufactory list hundreds of pipe bowls made of red Böttger stoneware. Initially the shape of the Dutch clay pipes was used to produce pipes in one piece with an integral pipe stem. Soon this form was followed by the so-called 'Gesteck' pipes or pipes in parts, where only the bowl with its figurative decoration was made of porcelain and the stem made out of wood. A very popular motif was that of the 'janizary', a Turk wearing a turban, which appears in the inventories from 1711. Those master craftsmen who had been involved in the production of the porcelain tabatières or snuffboxes at Meissen are also mentioned in connection with pipe bowls. Johann Joachim Kändler for example noted in 1743: "Several new tobacco bowls with various faces, corrected and passed on for moulds to be made." 1
The porcelain manufactories at Sevrès and Vienna also produced porcelain pipe bowls.

However, porcelain is not in fact a very suitable material for making pipes. The bowl quickly became red hot, thus causing large amounts of condensate to be produced. These drawbacks led to the development of various inbuilt cooling systems and also necessitated the use of a reservoir in which the condensate could collect. After use this reservoir could be unscrewed and the condensate poured away.

Despite its poor smoking qualities the porcelain pipe experienced a heyday during the Biedermeier era. Its attraction lay in the colourful painted motifs which provided unending possibilities for decoration.

With the development of transfer printing techniques it soon became possible to mass-produce porcelain pipes at a relatively low price. In contrast to the expensive meerschaum pipe it was thus easily affordable for all social classes. Almost every occupational group had its own porcelain pipes with appropriate ornamental motifs. Decorated with landscapes or coats of arms they also made an ideal souvenir for the tourist trade which was beginning to develop at that time. As they could also be decorated with personal dedications or mottoes porcelain pipes were popular as gifts. They were also extremely well suited to displaying the smoker's political affiliation, as illustrated by the Viennese student pipes from 1848, the year of the revolution. In the Pre-March period the porcelain pipe came to express revolutionary opinions and was smoked by students on the street in defiance of the prohibition on smoking in public places.

Naturally the pipe makers did not hesitate to use well-known figures from public life to decorate their wares, a circumstance bemoaned by Goethe: "I'm to be had just like Old Fritz on pipe bowls and cups." 2
The 'Regimental' or reservist's pipe complete with regimental and company number which soldiers acquired at the end of their military service was often equipped with ornately turned horn stems decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay, some of which were more than one metre long.

1 P.W. Meister: Porcelain des 18.Jahrhunderts, Vol.I., Meissen
2 Johann Wolfgang Goethe: Gedichte: Lauf der Welt, 1766 - 1832


Assortment of exhibition objects

Pipe-smoking student, Germany, before 1850 Pipe-smoking student, Germany, before 1850
Anonymous artist
Pastel on paper
21 x 17.5 cm
Inv. No. 1724
(Click on image to enlarge)
In 1848, the year of revolution, smoking a pipe in public, which was prohibited as a fire risk, became a way of demonstrating one's revolutionary sentiments. Students in particular smoked pipes decorated with political slogans.

Smoking still life, Germany, c. 1890 Smoking still life, Germany, c. 1890
August Holmberg (1851 – 1911)
Oil on wood
29.8 x 37.2 cm
Inv. No. 1766
(Click on image to enlarge)
This still life includes a porcelain pipe the bowl of which has the form of an Oriental woman. The unusually elaborate and precious stem identifies the pipe as a luxury object, displayed together with precious glass, a gold snuffbox and a ring with a monogram.

Company of smokers, mid-19th C Company of smokers, mid-19th C
Friedrich Kiesewetter (active around 1840)
Porcelain
32.8 x 39 cm
Inv. No. 7787
(Click on image to enlarge)
The legends on this piece – 'A friendly greeting from Friedrich Beckmann in Vienna to the highly esteemed tobacco club at Görlitz' and 'Berlin weiss beer' – explain the image. As women were not permitted to smoke in the 19th century, gentlemen withdrew to the café or tavern to indulge their passion for tobacco in smoking clubs.

Smoking card players in the public bar, Austria, c. 1880 Smoking card players in the public bar, Austria, c. 1880
Ernst Juch (1838 - 1909)
Oil on wood
29.3 x 40 cm
Inv. No. 1767
(Click on image to enlarge)
This painting shows smoking card players in the public bar of the Gusterschitz tavern on the corner of Bandgasse and Kandlgasse in Vienna.

Otto Bismarck, Germany, c. 1885 Otto Bismarck, Germany, c. 1885
Anonymous artist
Oil on canvas
35.2 x 27.8 cm
Inv. No. 6948
(Click on image to enlarge)
This portrait shows the chancellor smoking a long porcelain pipe.

Pipe bowl, Meissen, 18th C Pipe bowl, Meissen, 18th C
Porcelain
6.1 x 4.8 cm
Inv. No. 3400
(Click on image to enlarge)
The 'janizary', an Oriental figure with a turban, was a popular motif that occurs in the inventories of the Meissen porcelain manufactory from 1711.

Pipe bowl, Germany, 18th C Pipe bowl, Germany, 18th C
Porcelain, metal
7.3 x 7 cm
Inv. No. 6892
(Click on image to enlarge)
Pipe bowls in the form of an Oriental woman in a turban were produced in slightly different forms by various porcelain manufactories during the 18th century.

Pipe bowl, Austria, c. 1810 Pipe bowl, Austria, c. 1810
Vienna porcelain manufactory
Porcelain, silver mounts
10.5 x 7.2 cm
Inv. No. 2398
(Click on image to enlarge)
The characteristic form of a pipe bowl painted with a coat of arms comes from the pattern book of the Vienna porcelain manufactory.
Lit.: Fellner, Sabine/ Rupp, Herbert. Austria Tabak - Die Sammlung. Vienna 1991, p. 83

Pipe bowl, England, c. 1750 Pipe bowl, England, c. 1750
'Wedgwood porcelain', illegible impressed mark
9.2 x 7.3 cm
Inv. No. 3397
(Click on image to enlarge)
Named after the English stoneware manufacturer Josiah Wedgwood (1730 – 1795), Wedgwood stoneware was also used for making pipe bowls. They display the characteristic neoclassical motifs in white on a blue ground.
Lit.: Fellner, Sabine/ Rupp, Herbert (1991), p. 83

Pipe bowl, Bohemia, 19th C Pipe bowl, Bohemia, 19th C
Johann Zacharias Quast (1814 – 1891)
Pirkenhammer Manufactory
Porcelain, metal lid
11 x 2.7 cm
Inv. No. 4620
(Click on image to enlarge)
This hand-painted porcelain pipe bowl is the work of the porcelain enamel and portrait painter Johann Zacharias Quast, who was awarded a gold medal at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851.
Lit.: Genuss und Kunst, Schallaburg 1994, p. 343.

Pipe bowl, Bohemia, 19th C Pipe bowl, Bohemia, 19th C
Attributed to Johann Zacharias Quast (1814 – 1891)
Pirkenhammer Manufactory
Porcelain, metal lid
11.5 x 3.1 cm
Inv. No. 4627
(Click on image to enlarge)
A medallion framed in gold shows the portrait of a lady surrounded by scattered motifs of various small images and game boards under which is a scrap of paper with the verse: "Trust no friend in this world or you will be easily deceived; for friendship can end as quickly as tobacco smoke vanishes."

Pipe, Nuremberg, before 1830 Pipe, Nuremberg, before 1830
Johann Leonhard Geiser (active around 1830)
Porcelain, metal, wood
31.2 x 5.8 cm
Inv. No. 2880
(Click on image to enlarge)
The hand-painted decoration of this pipe bowl with insects and a butterfly is an example of the superb porcelain painting found on early pipe bowls.

Pipe, Meissen, 19th C Pipe, Meissen, 19th C
Porcelain, metal, horn
24.8 x 7.2 cm
Inv. No. 1967
(Click on image to enlarge)
The elaborately painted bowl shows an interior scene with two girls in a room.
Lit.: Fellner, Sabine/ Rupp, Herbert (1991), p. 84.

Pipe bowl, Germany, 19th C Pipe bowl, Germany, 19th C
Porcelain
12.3 x 3.3 cm
Inv. No. 8427
(Click on image to enlarge)
'The wild huntsman' is the legend on this pipe bowl which bears a gold-framed image of a huntsman with a crossbow and a lady kneeling in front of him to protect a white stag.

Pipe bowl, 1st half of 19th C Pipe bowl, 1st half of 19th C
Porcelain, metal mounts
12 x 3.1 cm
Inv. No. 8290
(Click on image to enlarge)
Made in one piece, this pipe bowl is an example of a hunting pipe and shows two huntsmen stalking game.

Pipe bowl, Austria, c. 1880 Pipe bowl, Austria, c. 1880
Porcelain
12.7 x 3.1 cm
Inv. No. 3812
(Click on image to enlarge)
The decoration on this pipe demonstrates how porcelain pipes often bore contemporary political motifs: Standing on sacks of gold, Ferdinand Lasalle holds a sword in his right hand and in his left a red banner with the legend 'Social Democracy Human Rights'.

Pipe, Austria, c. 1914 Pipe, Austria, c. 1914
Porcelain, silver, wooden stem, horn mouthpiece
50.5 x 6.5 cm
Inv. No. 13211
(Click on image to enlarge)
This military souvenir pipe was once owned by the dragoon Paul Dörfler. The bowl bears a scene of farewell. The reservoir is decorated with two crossed rifles, a sabre in a laurel wreath and a double eagle. The silver lid displays a photograph.

Pipe, Austria, c. 1914 Pipe, Austria, c. 1914
Porcelain, wooden stem, horn mouthpiece
39.9 x 3.4 cm
Inv. No. 17013
(Click on image to enlarge)
This 'Regimental' which once belonged to a Martin Schäfer shows a German and an Austrian soldier shaking hands. The scene is crowned by two medallions with busts of Franz Joseph I and Wilhelm II. The text reads: 'There is an iron maxim called soldier's loyalty. In remembrance of the campaign 1914'. The reservoir is decorated with military motifs and a motto.

Pipe bowl, Germany, c. 1840 Pipe bowl, Germany, c. 1840
Porcelain
13.3 x 3.7 cm
Inv. No. 1636
(Click on image to enlarge)
This student pipe shows a pipe-smoking student wearing a green cap and a red, white and black banderole who is strapping a broom to himself. The legend reads: 'Strapping on a broom'.
Lit.: Fellner, Sabine/ Rupp, Herbert (1991), p. 82. Fellner, Sabine/Rupp, Herbert. Die lasterhafte Panazee - 500 Jahre Tabakkultur in Europa. Vienna 1992, p. 145.

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