English Smoker's Cabinet
As the name suggests, smoker cabinets were furniture pieces explicitly produced to act as a “one stop spot” for a gentleman smoker in his own home. All manner of accessories, including cigar scissors, humidors, and ashtrays, could be stored inside these cabinets, which would often reside in an office or study, or beside a favourite chair. This Victorian era English smoker’s cabinet features a sophisticated, exquisitely carved mahogany exterior. Two carved shell urns sit atop the piece. At the base of the cabinet is a plaque, which states that the cabinet was “presented to Ceril H. Moffatt, on his 21st birthday, by a few good rich friends.” This personalized message makes this object one of a kind, and imbues the piece with personality. Once opened, the cabinet boasts plenty of storage space. A pipe stand with three slots is located in the upper lefthand corner of the two larger, open cabinets. Below these are four additional compartments that feature decorative handles – two of which can be locked by the owner with a key. Today, this English smoker’s cabinet could be used for all manner of organizational uses. Consider this piece as a unique way to store craft or hobby supplies, to hold a small, meaningful collection, or to creatively fulfill any storage need.
At this time in London, the Great Exhibition opened at the Crystal Palace on May 1, 1851. The event was the brainchild of Prince Albert (1819–1861), the husband of Queen Victoria (r. 1837–1901). Six million visitors attended over the span of six months, enjoying exhibitions of culture, technology, and industry from all over the world. The Great Exhibition was the first in what would become a series of World’s Fairs, which became popular throughout the 19th century.