Posh stummels

The most famous shape for the porcelain tobacco pipe is the so-called stummel, an oval pipe bowl with a knob heel and a short stem. The shape was copied from the Gouda clay pipe, but the mounting is completely different because a long porcelain stem is not possible. These pipes were therefore placed in a moisture lock of buffalo horn or porcelain and then mounted with an upright stem of wood or horn.

The stummel is very suitable for painting and it is astonishing to what level porcelain painting has developed. From 1780, when it was created, meticulous paintings all by hand were created. Subjects are portraits, gallant depictions, topography and historical scenes. The factory in Meissen seems to be the leader of these painted pipe bowls, characterized by endless tufts applied with a fine brush. At the Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur in Berlin, the painting was carried out even more lifelike with a high degree of realism. This resulted in impressive miniature paintings on pipe bowls. To emphasize the effect of a real painting, the images were edged with a frame of gold leaf. Contemporary engravings were used as an example to paint topical subjects that appealed to the consumer of that moment. Because the painters worked after prints, we often see that the colors of the scenes differ completely!

The stummel was so common that it was customary in many circles to present a pipe bowl as a gift. In the most appreciated examples, the subject of the painting matches the interest of the recipient. On the reverse we often read the names of the donor and acceptor. Especially for students a painting of a family crest was common for a gift pipe.

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