Smoking with the king
The most famous smoking society is undoubtedly the one founded by King Frederick I of Prussia. The reason is that his collegium was immortalized in a painting by Paul Carl Leygebe, a large canvas of 130 by over 160 centimeters that is now housed in the Neues Palast in Potsdam. The painting shows how the collegium functioned. The king and his wife are seated at a table in the center of the room. They are depicted at the moment that the king gets a fire for his long clay pipe from his consort. Their guests, all with a pipe, form a circle around them, but of course at an appropriate distance. Servants walk aroundin order to help lighting the pipe or pouring a drink, such as the man in Moorish dress. As a whole it looks relaxed and entertaining. This print in small size is inspired by the aforementioned painting. It was published in the Berliner Almanach of 1822, more than a century after the painting was made. A century later than Frederik, the tobacco collegium was still a common name for a smokers club. It should be noted that the print does not show the entire painting, but only the main scene. It is clear that engraver Bretzing was not one of the best. If you look at the faces of the guests you will see that the representation of the people could have been somewhat more powerful.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 21.974Permalink