Negro with carrying basket
Apparently an ordinary figural clay pipe but with a special design. A standing Negro forms part of the stem, the pipe bowl is shaped as an oval basket that rests on its shoulders. What makes the pipe so special is the beautiful, lifelike design, which is perfectly proportioned and extremely detailed, even if it is a miniature version. Thus we see that the basket with the carrying straps naturally influences the posture of the standing figure so that we forget that this man is part of the pipe stem. Due to endless smoking, the pipe is coloured enhancing the effect of the otherwise sparing accents in white enamel paint. Pay particular attention to the speaking, contrasting eyes. One day the pipe broke and the smoker had it fitted with a new buffalo horn mouthpiece, attached with a brass ferrule. After that it was smoked with pleasure for years until the pipe got the deep dark brown colour that it still has today. The maker is the Louis Fiolet company from Saint-Omer who put this design on the market around 1855. Given its origin, it is not impossible that this specific specimen is the same pipe that Fairholt depicted in his book on tobacco use in 1859. Describing this pipe Fairholt made a link to current events by connecting this pipe with Uncle Tom's Cabin. What is most evident from that attribution is that many of the depictions in pipe design of that time were rooted in the topicality of the day.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 16.585Permalink