This exceptional gilt-silver Victorian smoker’s companion is the work of renowned silversmith James Garrard. As practical as it is beautiful, this handy tool is designed to meet all of a smoker's needs by placing all of the essential tools into one piece. This piece is comprised of a container, suited to hold loose tobacco, snuff and matches, with a rough striking surface on the bottom and, hidden in its spire, a tool for both prodding and grasping tobacco. The architectural form exhibits the elegant Neoclassical style, with the delicately engraved initials “ISM” within lozenges and tasteful gadrooning, while a stag’s head crest completes this aristocratic design. Smoker’s companions were multi-purpose tools used by 17th and 18th century smokers to tamp, light, and clean their pipes. They were made in many different forms, and some, unearthed at American colonial sites, have been called the “Swiss Army Knife” of the colonial pipe smoker. To find one of such exquisite quality is quite rare.
James Garrard was a member of renowned silversmiths R. & S. Garrard & Co., whose repertoire included a large number of sporting cups, vases and centerpieces, the most important being those prepared for the Ascot, Doncaster and Goodwood races. Considered the most important silversmith and jewelry firm of the day, R. & S. Garrard and Company was appointed Goldsmiths and Jewelers to the King in 1830, and has served as British Crown Jewelers since 1843. The company is famous for creating the small diamond crown worn by Queen Victoria after she returned to public life following the death of her husband, HRH Prince Albert.
Anonymous sale; Bonhams, London, 24 October 2000, lot 111.
Hallmarked London, 1889