Clay pipe with gold leaf
In the eighties of the nineteenth century, a technique was devised in Marseille to apply gold leaf decorations to clay pipes. The invention must be sought in the vicinity of the Morelli or perhaps Bonnaud factories. The pipe shown is a fine example of this technique. A gold leaf decoration that was quite durable was applied around the bowl. This was typically done with the brown pipe bowls, which were more luxurious than the red ones and had a finer surface structure, a requirement for a good adhesion of the gold leaf. In addition to geometric or floral patterns such as here, special inscriptions and advertisements were made in this technique. Cafés and beverage brands in particular have often made use of it. Their establishment or product was advertised with a name pipe. The mounting of such pipes consisted of a brown bamboo stem with a slight kink at the end, finished with a blackened wooden mouthpiece. If case of more luxury, the mouthpiece is buffalo horn and the stem is sometimes trimmed with a metal cuff.
Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 21.952
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