Meerschaum by Gambier
This meerschaum tobacco pipe shows the head of an English lady with a flat hat decorated with flowers and ribbons, a kind of general portrait that was carved more often around the year 1900. Elegant women's portraits were popular motifs for tobacco pipes and were in particular in demand with the bourgeois smoker. What makes this pipe special, however, is not the design but the address in the case. On the inside of the lid we read in gold leaf letters "J. GAMBIER PARIS" and that text indicates that the pipe was traded by the Gambier company. It dates back to the time when this famous clay pipe factory was struggling with declining sales and the management was hoping to be able to better serve the retail trade through extended representation in wooden and meerschaum pipes. By the way, addresses in the cases of meerschaum pipes are almost always related to the reseller and unfortunately they rarely refer to the workplace where the pipe was made. The actual production site of this tobacco pipe therefore remains hidden. Should we unexpectedly come across this design in a manufacturer catalog of a meerschaum factory, even then we must keep in mind that the factories also outsourced a lot of work. In addition, it was normal for manufacturers to trade work from other makers, so that they could supply the most complete range possible. Nowadays, this trade policy makes attribution virtually impossible.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 16.472Permalink