Staffordshire by the pair

June 2021

 	 Staffordshire by the pair

Tobacco pipes with coiled stems are known as Pratt ware pipes. This refers to pipes of white fired clay with long braided or artfully twisted stems. They are finished with a transparent glaze accentuated with tufts of paint in bright colors. Production took place in the English town of Stafford, an important ceramics center. Tradition has it that pipes with such wickerwork were first made by brothers Felix Edward and Richard Pratt, who together ran the Fenton Pottery. Because of the winding stems in all kinds of unexpected bends, it is also referred to as puzzle pipes. What is special about the two pipes shown are not the coiled stems, but the fact that two almost identical pipes were kept together for two centuries. That happened in an English stately home until the moment they came on the market recently. The two pipes follow the same concept, but with small variations. The hand shaping caused deviating dimensions, but a conscious change is, for example, the position of the face of the bowl. Unmistakably, it is the same hand who made these pieces who ensured that the execution and palette are the same, but the details differ. In short a faux pair. The fact that they are still together is a great luck. They do prove the serial production of this pottery and show the small nuances of the potter. The dating is between 1820 and 1840.

Amsterdam Pipe Museum APM 24.257



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