The habit of smoking has inspired artists and caricaturists. In fact this movement starts already with farmers smoking a pipe in the seventeenth century. In course of the eighteenth century the pipes and smoking becomes a subject for cartoons.
The first serious subject is the competition between the pipe smoker and the user of snuff tobacco. The pipe smoker blames the snuff taker for permanently sneezing and always having a running nose. Those who use snuff tobacco on their turn, blame the pipe smoker for producing thick clouds of smoke. Often they also ridicules the odd shape or the extreme stem length of the tobacco pipe.
In the nineteenth century the tobacco pipe acts stronger as a fashion item and becomes a denominator for a particular group of smokers. Pipe smokers are the more conventional people and their pipes should underline that. Opposite to this group, the cigar smoker is more fashionable, dressed up, sometimes even behaving like a dandy.
In 1909 the famous magazine L'Assiette au Beurre issued a special number dedicated to the tobacco and the smoking. The cover clearly illustrates the relation between the smoker and his smoke habit.
Gradually the pieces of art on smoking disappear. The function of the cartoon is taken over by magazines and newspapers.
Illustrations on this page from the collections of Amsterdam Pipe Museum
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