Imperial visit to the city of Rennes
19 August 1858 was a special day for the inhabitants of the town of Rennes. The imperial couple, Napoleon III and his beloved ega empress Eugénie visited the city of Rennes with their son, the prince impériale. The local pipe manufacturer Alexis Picard availed himself to the opportunity to produce an occasional pipe that was even released in two sizes. Here you can see the large version, with a height of more than ten centimeters. The pipe has a vase shape and can stand upright independently. The bowl shows the imperial portraits on both sides, and on the stem side you can see the heir to the throne. The front is decorated with the city coat of arms of Rennes. The cities Brest and Cherbourg, visited by the imperial family on the same journey are mentioned en passant. At the base the pipe bowl is held by the imperial eagle with spread wings, with the signature "A. PICARD 19 AOUT 1858 A RENNES" on the base. The transition from the bowl to the stem is beautifully done with a playful motifs of foliage or maybe shell shapes. What makes this robust pipe bowl extra special is the finish. The white fired clay has been given an electrolysis bath, which gives it the appearance of a piece of bronze casting. As a matter of fact, a technique that was used more often in those days but certainly not done in the pipe making, but by a company that mastered the technique of bronzing. The luxurious finish of this pipe evokes speculation that this specific object might have been offered to the imperial couple.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 21.027
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