Absinthe Pichets

Recent research indicates that these types of figural pitchers, characterised by an extremely small spout, were intended for use with absinthe. Keller & Guérin made several different types at St Clement, as did the majolica works at Sarreguemines.

A majolica water pitcher made by Keller & Guérin at their factory in Saint Clement in the shape of a Marabou stork. The extremely small hole in the beak (only about two millimeters in diameter) indicates that this pitcher was probably made primarily for use with absinthe, as does the fact that examples are recorded with the brand mark Absinthe Oxygéneé. Later versions of this same pitcher carried publicity for Anis Amourette, an absinthe-like substitute made by Pernod-Hemard in the 1920’s. This example is in unusually fine condition and dates from around 1890.

A remarkable St Clement barbotine pitcher in the shape of a grasshopper. Dating from around 1910, this is one of the most imposing pitchers made by Keller & Guérin, and one of the scarcest. It stands 14″ high (35.5cm). The small outlet hole (larger than that of the stork, but still less than 4mm across) also indicates that this was probably made primarily for use with absinthe.

A majolica water pitcher made at Sarreguemines circa 1912, with advertising for Vin Madha Quinquina. Collectors beware: modern reproductions of this pitcher are often sold as antique originals.

An extremely rare St Clement barbotine pitcher in the shape of hatching duck. The innovative design, which at first glance looks like it dates from the 1950’s is in fact 50 years older – this pitcher was made by Keller & Guérin in the early 1900’s, probably around 1905.As with the other pitchers shown, the small outlet hole indicates that this was probably made primarily for use with absinthe.

A St Clement rooster pitcher – this is a rare early casting, probably dating from the late 1890’s. Keller & Guérin manufacturing code 442 /2 on the base.

Absinthe Pichets – Grès

Stoneware water pitchers for use in the absinthe ritual. Note that all these pitchers have an unusually small spout which facilitates the thin controlled stream of water necessary for the proper preparation of an absinthe.

A well detailed Grès d’Alsace water pitcher.

A “Grès d’Alsace” water pitcher in the shape of a bulldog, made for Absinthe Delizy et Doistau.

A rare unusually fine and animated “Grès d’Alsace” absinthe water pitcher. Here the charming bulldog is wearing an apron.

A similar pitcher, in brown glazed earthenware.

A circa 1900 catalogue from the pottery maker Henri Picard, showing, at bottom left, a zoomorphic pitcher – “Brocs a absinthe”, similar to those shown on the previous page.

The famous “Messieurs c’est l’heure” Swiss anti-prohibition pitcher. It shows the clock at ten to midnight on 7th October 1910, the date absinthe was banned in Switzerland. There are many modern reproductions of these jugs.