This beautifully designed portrait pipe of an old woman comes from a factory whose history is still unwritten. Made from red clay with a striking enamel painting in white, this pipe has a very special appearance. Particularly unusual is the hood, which shows deep-lying spaces next to the face, a relief effect that was avoided at most factories because the filling of those protruding pieces during pressing often led to so-called clay shortages. That was apparently a challenge for this pipe maker and he certainly did a good job, making a very fine pipe. This woman, full of character, once smothered a pipe between the lips, of which a tiny hole in the lip is still the proof. Nobody will be surprised that that loose mini pipe has been lost. All in all, there is a special modelé in a style that is really sculptural and, in particular, looks less smooth than the products of competing factories. Maker is Testervuide who worked in Pont-à-Moussin in the Lorraine. The company worked until the mid-1870s, but more than a few pipes of that brand are not known. That is highly surprising, because this pipe bowl shows the number 216 as the shape number which surely awakens the expectation of a substantial factory assortment. This pipe bowl is worthy evidence that more has been achieved than is shown by the figural pipes made by the major French factories such as Gambier, Fiolet and Duméril.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 16.837Permalink