Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery: Object of the Month

object of the month homepage - feb 2013

Cigar Case, 1840-1860

This cigar case is made of card with a cloth trim and its covering is of velvet with sewn beads. This style of floral and geometric beadwork was found on the continent and this example may have come from France.

I have chosen the case both for its craft and for what it tells us about the 1800s and today. Alongside its image of smoking as a gentlemanly pursuit, the decoration is less ‘masculine’ than you would expect today.

The paraphernalia of smoking used to be common in the home.  Cigarette cases and boxes, ashtrays, lighters, pipe stands and cleaners were familiar everyday objects. But social change has made smoking a marginalised and disposable culture and objects like this Victorian cigar case now seem exotic.

It was donated to the museum by a Mr Broun-Morison, probably the Basil Broun-Morison of Sussex who was the brother of the artists Guy and Henry Broun-Morison.

Caroline Ellis, Writer and TWMAG fan

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