How does one produce a masterwork? In Neill Archer Roan's case, it's been a combination of years of collecting and casually studying Comoy's Blue Riband briars, followed by finally delving full-bore into intense and in-depth research of the history of the Blue Riband itself, Comoys as a whole, and the multitude of shapes they created across the years. Beautifully presented, full-colored, and thorough, here Neill presents one of the finest collections of the Blue Riband pipe, not only lovingly photographed, but also preceded by a discussion on Neill's philosophy in doing so, and the techniques he used to capture them best. From the dust cover to the forward by Lucien Comoy, to the final chapter of selected "Comoy's Ephemera" and appendix of notes and sources, Neill has produced here one of the finest works, and presentations, on the subject of pipes, period.
This book is a limited edition publication of 500 and serves as "a catalog of Neill Archer Roan's collection of Comoy's Blue Riband pipes that was exhibited at the 2014 Chicagoland International Pipe and Tobacciana Show in St. Charles, Illinois.... Read More" In addition to some fine photos of the pipes, It features a forward by Lucian Comoy, whose father (Pierre) was the last of the family to work for the firm; a small essay on Comoy's Blue Riband pipes; an informative essay on the photography process used for the catalog; a small essay on Comoy's classification; and a small appendix portraying some Comoy's ephemera including a few shape charts, some pages from Comoy's sales catalogs, and a table of shapes with only text descriptions.
The pipe catalog itself groups the collection into Billiards and Pots, Dublins and Zulus, Bulldogs and Rhodesians, Globes (Apples) and Princes, Canadians, Liverpools, and Lovats, Miscellaneous including a beautiful Kruger Extraordinaire (Shape No. 236) and a lovely Woodstock (Shape No. 202), and a custom Blue Riband Pipe Rack. Around 90 pages are dedicated to photographs of Roan's collection and the photographer must have an excellent camera (for Skip).
Personally, I was disappointed with this book. I have a Comoy's Blue Riband and I was looking forward to learning more about these pipes but the information provided was sparse. As a catalog, the photography was stellar but most all the pipes are portrayed from one angle. I can't but help thinking that more information about Comoy's in general and Blue Riband pipes specifically would make the $36 seem more worth the investment. I think one will be more satisfied with this book if one approaches this catalog as a picture book celebrating one man's collection rather than an informative study of the Comoy's brand or Blue Riband pipes. Read Less
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