Porcelain figural pipes
Figural porcelain tobacco pipes are among the most desirable for collectors. The first examples of these pipes were already designed a few years after the invention of European porcelain around 1720. One of the most important modelers was Johann Joachim Kändler from Meissen, but his student and assistant Johann Gottlieb Ehder also had great merit. A special pipe bowl in the shape of a lion is an early example.
Porcelain pipes with portrait heads remained popular in the second half of the eighteenth century. Then the porcelain pipe is still intended for the most wealthy smokers. Portrait pipe bowls with Turkish images, both men and women, were popular. Characteristic is the refined painting of the turbans in countless colors.
It was not until the nineteenth century that the appearance of the porcelain figural pipe declined. Due to more competition, production rapidly enlarged. Porcelain gradually became a mass article with poor shaping and coarser painting. The color palette is no longer so subtle either. In addition to well-developed portrait heads and figural pipes, more and more ordinary, folk pipes came on the market.
An exceptional achievement is a series of dozens of finely modeled Napoleonic generals. Not only the design is realistic, the painting is also extremely carefully done with all due respect for the correct color scheme of the uniforms. After the eighteenth century chic portrait pipes, this is a new highlight in porcelain pipe production.
Around the year 1900 the figural porcelain pipe disappeared from the market. The latest creations focused on the popular smoker with vulgar subjects in which the motif drinking predominates. For example, there is a tobacco pipe in the shape of a wine or beer barrel to which a man clings while he drinks greedily from the tap. Another example shows a waitress holding two beer mugs to her low-cut bosom. This work no longer came from authoritative porcelain factories but from workshops in Bohemia, the current Czech Republic, that focused on serial production.