The Pipe Smoker
The Pipe Smoker

The Elizabethans were passionate about the, newfound, craze of smoking tobacco. Although Raleigh did not, as is widely thought, introduce the wicked weed, he was instrumental in making it fashionable at court. A good example of the romantic rhetoric heaped upon tobacco at the time, can be seen in this verse by the famous madrigal composer, Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623)

I swear that this tobacco
It's perfect Trinidado ...
Fill the pipe once more,
My brains dance trench more
It is heady, I am giddy,
Head and brains,
Back and reins, joints and veins:
From all pains
It doth well purge and make clean.

The pipes contained within the frame of the painting are all from the Elizabethan period.

This work features in the Sir Walter Raleigh - Dreaming Beyond the Medieval exhibition.