Decorations in relief
The Dutch clay tobacco pipe is press moulded. By engraving the brass mould, the decoration was simply shaped with the pipe. Prestigious makers from early times on had moulds engraved to supply their customers with pipes with an attractive decoration.
Decorations were often derived from historical events: the marriage of a stadtholder or a peace treaty between two countries. In some cases the decoration is more general: the coat of arms of the town of Gouda or other Dutch cities or the representation of Mercury and Neptune as Gods of trade and sea.
The craftsmanship of the engraver determines the quality of the decoration. The most detailed and most artistic engravings date from the period 1735 to 1755, when the silversmith family Van Oye was active in Gouda. In the nineteenth century the smokers interest for these delicately decorated pipes declines, as does the ability of the engravers. In that time cruder and less artistic subjects are introduced.
A typical nineteenth century pipe shows an emblem on the bowl or an inscription, placed on a ribbon.
Pipes decorated in relief stay in production till the beginning of the twentieth century. The last examples are pipes with the arms of Friesland (Frisia) on the bowl. The artistic quality of these pipes is not to be compared with that of the mid-18th century.
All objects on this page are part of the Amsterdam Pipe Museum
© copyright Amsterdam Pipe Museum - Pijpenkabinet Foundation, the Netherlands