Friday, 29 May 2009

Big Time in Big D for the Big 10th! by Susan C.

Wow! May has flown by and that can only mean two things... Adela Meadows will be hosting soon and the Dallas 2009 Q Meeting is a month closer!
I promised to have the "real scoop" on the 10th Anniversary Meeting, so here it is:

Special hotel rates for members are now $129.00 per double! Book now! The hotel is on the small side.

Come to Dallas early or stay late and visit the Frontiers of Flight Museum, have a day at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, shop where there are more shopping centers per capita than perhaps any other city in the US, attend a home game of the Dallas Cowboys in their brand new stadium, attend an opera during the Inaugural Week of the Winspear Opera House, stay at The Gaylord Texan or the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas, for your last night or tour a vineyard in Grapevine, minutes North of DFW Airport on your last day!
There's so much to see! Perhaps, you want to re-visit Ft. Worth's Cowgirl, Amon Carter, Modern or the Kimbell Museum, that we saw in 2002. Perhaps, catch a film in the I Max, or eat at Angelo's or The Railhead for out of this world BBQ! You decide, we'll help you make the arrangements! You have to google the Gaylord Texan!!! WOW! There's a river inside!

My personal favorite, local & inexpensive restaurants: Rise No. 1...very unique and they have fab souffles!; Macaroni Grill, a nearby place for pasta; La Madeleine, a nearby place for great French Onion Soup, Caesar salad; Blue Mesa (across from Northpark) for unusual Mexican food or my local Tex-Mex fave, El Fenix; Corner Bakery, a good soup and sandwich spot. If that isn't a fit for you, just ask for more suggestions. A longer restaurant list is posted on the Q site.

News Flash: Last week, the current owners of the Stanley Marcus home, announced that they would begin renovations on the home and not raze it, as stated late last year! Hurray, chalk one up for the preservationists!

The Meet & Greet (Wed pm) - you heard it here first...during the event, live musical entertainment will be graciously provided by M. et Mme. Richard Williams - aka, Lucy and Dick!

The Flora Street Fandango (Thurs) - after a brief bus ride to SMU's campus, we'll have a docent led tour of one of the finest Spanish artwork collections outside of Spain, then board for downtown Dallas. After a quick loop through town, we'll be dropped off at Flora Street (the Arts District) where the DMA, Nasher and Crow Museums are. For anyone interested, the bus will at that time, make one trip to the Dallas Arboretum, drop you off and return in 1 1/2 hrs to make the one and only pick up and will return you to the Arts District. Throughout the day, the buses will make a loop through the area, so members can hop-on and hop-off buses at other sites, including the Dallas Aquarium, the Sixth Floor Museum or Neiman's. Mid afternoon, we will have a docent-guided tour through the Reves Collection at the DMA. In the late afternoon, we'll board the buses and head back to the Hilton for dinner on your own. Museum websites posted on Q homepage.

Picnic With Porquier (Friday) - a short bus ride from the hotel are the four collections and antique shop we'll tour on this day. You heard it here a special treat for our 10th, each home will have a room or a tabletop, decorated with a seasonal or themed display using French pottery! It ought to be terrific! Betty O's charming Cape Cod-styled home and my house will be first. Betty favors HR Q and Malicorne and you can meet Nasdaq, the cat! You've already read about my faves, so I won't repeat that info. Midday, we picnic at Twila and Ted Moore's fabulous home. Your picnic lunch will be prepared, courtesy of the the Dallas area members! Thank you girls! Lucy, Dick and possibly a WA State friend, will once again provide some music for your listening pleasure. At the Moore's, we'll have two guest speakers. Kathleen T, who will talk about the musical instruments depicted on French faience and Elizabeth N, will give a presentation twice on "The Art of the French Table." Mid-afternoon, we depart for Ann S's gracious home and The Lovers Lane Antique Market, where Patsy McDonald and La Taylor will welcome us. Ann loves the Modern movement and Fouillen pieces, so that collection will be great! I bet the sisters will be in their Bretonne outfits as they greet us at the Market! Bring your cameras! Shopped out and on collection overload, we'll return to the hotel for dinner on your own.

The 10th Anniversary Meeting Day! - (Saturday) - The day starts with the business meeting, followed by two very special heard it here first...Millicent Mali, will share her newest research on the actual Stories Behind the Legendes Bretonne and Jeffrey Ruthizer, our other guest speaker, will also have a very interesting talk about The World War I Plates and the History Behind Their Designs! Two outstanding presentations that will highlight a private collection, to be seen on the following day, containing many Malicorne and Porquier Beau Legendes plates and an extensive collection of WWI production! A State Fair of Texas themed lunch will be served midday, followed by the fabulous French faience sale! In the evening and scheduled in the beautiful Opio Room, the Farewell Banquet will be held. A French-themed evening is planned, along with a live auction, with proceeds benefiting Operation Smile. Please contact Sarah Anderson or me if you are bringing a donation item, either French related, faience or something made with your loving hands. Another YOU HEARD IT HERE the works, are limited edition plates to be sold on Saturday, to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Q Club! All cities that have hosted meetings to date, will be commemorated on these special plates. Also, ONE very special plate will be produced for the Saturday night auction. Commemorated on this plate will be every Country or State having hosted a meeting, along with the names of the Club's Founders, Presidents and Meeting Organizers. Bring your checkbook! It will be a piece unique!!!

The Final Four - Sunday - Our buses will take us to the Pierre Deux Showroom, in the Dallas Design District, where we will be treated to a lovely Brunch. Store manager, Dianna Peebles, will host this special event. Members will be treated to a talk on the textiles of Provence and afterwards, we will be able to shop. Departing by bus, we will drive to the home of Floyd and Beverly S to see their extensive and fabulous collection of Porquier Beau, Fouillen, CA, Malicorne, WWI plates and a compote decorated by Alf Beau himself.

What a way to end the 10th Anniversary Meeting of the Quimper Club!!!

Now that you're practically a Texan since you've been reading the May blog and won't need a translation, I will end with this...
Are ya' finely gettin' fired up for tha' big event? I shur hope that tha' info I've shared will make ya' skedaddle on down to Dallas fer sum fun! Yule be so whomperjawed after grinnin' like a 'possum fer four days of fun that we may jus have ta shootcha! Trust me, you're gonna be fit to be tied if you miss this 'un. Anyun sittin' on the fence about this 'un, don't know come here from sic 'em! So, don't play possum and let the deadline pass ya' by! Tha weathur shuld be fine unless we have anoth'r frog strangler like we had in '02. Tha collections are fine as frog hair and I'll be happy as a clam to see ya!
Websites of interest:
Eliz. Arden Red Door Spa - (214)373.8338
Frontiers of Flight -
Gaylord Texas -
Grapevine Mills Mall -


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Trammel Crow, Collector - Like Father, Like Son by Susan C.

During the 2009 Q Meeting in Dallas, Oct 21-25, members will have the opportunity to visit a number of fine art museums, three are conveniently located at the same intersection in downtown Dallas. We will be visiting these museums on, Thursday, Oct 22.

In an earlier blog, I wrote about Raymond Nasher, developer of Northpark Center and his gift to Dallas, the Nasher Sculpture Garden, which contains much of his private art collection.

Today, I will write about Trammel Crow and his Museum of Asian Art, located adjacent to the Nasher and the DMA.
Trammel Crow was the son of a poor bookkeeper, but by 1971, Forbes magazine named him as the largest landlord in the U.S. Locally, he left an indelible mark on the city of Dallas and its' Arts. Crow was one of the first U.S. developers to build in Germany, Hong Kong and the South Pacific. Major projects Crow worked on include the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, the Dallas Market Center and the Peachtree Center in Atlanta. As development projects grew larger, Crow sought financial backing from Dallas businessmen, as well as, those outside the city including David Rockefeller and Winthrop Rockefeller. Eventually, he turned to developments in his hometown, changing the skyline of Dallas forever.

The Crow Collection of Asian Art was founded by Margaret and Trammel Crow and opened in 1998. Crow wished to have a space that was open and inviting, since he thought of anyone entering the museum as his personal guest. The museum is very open and has a set of light filled galleries filled with the arts of China, Japan, India and South East Asia, spanning 3500 B.C to the early 20th Century. Their son Trammel, oversaw the project, which was completed in only 18 months and for a mere 5.5 million dollars! During those 18 months, 7000 objects were inventoried and cataloged. After the process was complete, 569 objects were selected for permanent display within the museum.

Crow, owner of the Anatole Hotel, near downtown Dallas, once proposed the construction of a plaza, Pioneer Plaza, with bronze sculptures of three cowboys on horseback along with 70 six foot high longhorn steers. Some skeptics in the City thought Crow was doing it to stall construction of a new hotel that would compete with his nearby facility. Critics also cited the fact that Dallas was not the "cowtown" that Ft. Worth was. Crow's reply was priceless. "I have about 8 or 10 pieces of Rodin in my buildings here....Under their sort of criticism, we shouldn't have any sculpture from Rodin in Dallas. Rodin never even came to Dallas."

The plaza was constructed and completed in 1995. The longhorns were cast in England and shipped to the site, and yes, for many years construction of a new hotel near the Dallas Convention Center was forestalled. Only this month, a ballot referendum was approved by the voters of Dallas, to finally construct a hotel near the newly renovated and expanded Dallas Convention Center, occurring after the passing of Trammel Crow, in January of this year, at the age of 94.

Harlan Crow, son of Trammel and Margaret, also a developer, is a collector, too. As they say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! Harlan's collection though, is along different lines from his parents.

Harlan Crow is most interested in ephemera, historical documents, historical objects and the like. In his collection are signatures of every signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and signatures from all but two of the Supreme Court Justices. Crow has collected historical documents that include a deed to George Washington's Mt. Vernon Estate, a letter from Columbus announcing his discovery to the Spanish Court and correspondence from all U.S. Presidents.

Items of historical import in his collection belonged to Nicholas II, the Duke of Wellington, Churchill and Napoleon. Objects also include a tankard made by Paul Revere, Hitler's china, a five star helmet belonging to General Eisenhower and a life mask of Abraham Lincoln.

Crow does collect fine art. The works of Copley, Sully, Peale and Stuart are among his paintings. At this point, I will add that one of Stuart's paintings of George Washington, is owned by another Dallas collector and is on display, along with other fine art, in his office complex.

Now, here's the twist to the entire collection of Harlan Crow and one that sets it apart from your average, run of the mill, fabulous and historic collection. Harlan has, over the years, collected nearly 20 statues of leaders and assassins of fallen Communist and Socialist regimes. The statues, some almost 20' in height, are displayed on the grounds of his Highland Park estate.

The statues, according to a July 2, 2003 New York Times article, include: Nicolae & Elena Ceausescu (Romania's former first couple), Feliks Dzhinsky (founder of the Soviet Secret Police), Gavrilo Princip (Serbian assassin who may have helped trigger WWI), Lenin (located during civil war and eventually purchased from the artist, damaged and in pieces), a miniature of Mao and Stalin, a bust of Fidel Castro, Bela Kun (Hungary's first Communist leader), Klement Gottwald (first Communist President of Czechoslovakia), Mussolini and more. As of 2003, Crow was still interested in obtaining a statue of Saddam Hussein and Pol Pot. By this writing, my money says they're now in his collection!

Crow employs a young man, who has a self declared "love of adventure and history,"serving as his agent, handling the search, acquisition and shipment of the statues. According to his agent, the statues were often times carried on flatbed trucks through many countries or cut up and carried in smaller vehicles. Sometimes, he states, that during transport he has been in dangerous situations and he has slept with one eye open, to watch the statue and to be on the lookout for his own safety. One statue he retrieved, was standing in an area of much fighting and it's nose had been lost during the battle. It all sounds very cloak and dagger to me, but very interesting, as the comedian portraying the German soldier would say on Laugh In!

I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy seeing the Crow Collection of Asian Art during your visit and believe it or not, there is no admission fee into the museum! Thank you, Trammel!

My next and final blog, will focus on the Dallas Meeting.
Please check back for Meeting details, tips, restaurant recommendations and other sites, not on the agenda, to see while you are staying in Big D!

Monday, 25 May 2009

La Reunion - The French Settlement in Dallas by Susan C.

Six flags is not just the name of a theme park! It is the number of flags that have actually flown over the State of Texas. The flags of Spain, France, Mexico, the Confederacy, the U.S. and it's own Lone Star flag, have been hoisted above its' old missions, settlements and forts.

Not long after Texas was admitted into the Union in 1845, once again, the French along with Swiss and Belgians, came to Texas and in particular, to Dallas, to begin a settlement. In the years between the French Revolution and the Second Empire, social unrest triggered new thought. Ideas about a Utopian way of living and thinking were spreading across Europe.

Victor Prosper Considerant was one of the leading democratic socialist "Utopian" proponents. Living in exile in Belgium due to his opposition to the coup of Napoleon III, Considerant began to plan for such a Utopian settlement in Texas. The settlement was to be based on the economic theories of Francois Marie Charles Fourier, which was a loosely organized commune with participants sharing profits based on individual productivity and the amount of capital an individual invested. "Fourierism" had already reached the US. A settlement had already been started in Massachusetts and New Jersey by 1843.

Considerant traveled to the US from Belgium, stopping in New York where he obtained a letter of introduction to Major Merrill, commandant at the army post at Fort Worth. Considerant proceeded to travel down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, up the Arkansas River and from there he crossed through Indian Territory and into Texas on horseback. He followed the old Preston Trail through Texas and reached the area near the settlement of Dallas. He continued to search for the most suitable spot for the settlement and continued on to explore the area along the Brazos and Colorado Rivers. (During the 2009 Dallas Meeting collections tour, we will be traveling on Preston Road, which follows the route of the old Preston Trail.)

Finally, Considerant returned to the area near Dallas. It was there, he thought he'd located the region with the perfect climate and ample resources for his venture. He returned to Belgium to form the new company and solicit funding. In this pursuit, he wrote two publications with specific plans for the Texas settlement, the French version being called Au Texas and the English publication being called The Great West, both printed in 1854. He also included accounts of his travels, the vast wilderness he'd traveled and his enthusiasm over the simple life of the Indians. Considerant envisioned the eventual creation of many European settlements throughout the Southwest that would eventually partnership in business matters and promote common culture and education.

In 1854 in France, Considerant formed the European - American Colonization Society in Texas and raised 500,000 Francs from members interested in investing in the venture. Those investing in the venture were to make a 6% return. With the newly raised funds, Considerant sent F. Cantagrel to Texas to purchase land. Cantagral made the journey and bought 2,080 acres, slightly to the West of Dallas and he also made arrangements for the arrival of the first wave of immigrants.

Members were stock holders, but not all stock holders made the journey. Of the near 2,000 Europeans interested or investing in the venture, approximately 200 actually made the journey. The colonists crossed the Atlantic in 60 days and landed at New Orleans. From there, they sailed to Galveston. From Houston, the Europeans were supposed to navigate the Trinity River to Dallas; however, the region was suffering from a drought and the river was unnavigable. The colonists had to instead travel by ox drawn wagons for 26 days to reach their final destination. Dallas residents, having declared the day, June 16, 1855, a holiday, greeted the newcomers who were dressed their foreign attire and some wearing sabots.

The first colonists arriving at La Reunion, the name of the new settlement, began to clear land, build stone houses, as well as, build a community store and community restaurant. The first brewery in Dallas County was constructed and an immigrant named Reverchon, who was a scientific farmer, taught some residents how to deep farm and graft fruit trees. By 1856, the colonists were making soap, candles, ran a laundry, a smoke house and kept bee hives.

More colonists arrived over time and numbers reached somewhere between 350 - 400 people, nearly half the number of Dallas residents.
Most arrivals were artisans, jewelers, weavers, shoemakers, etc., and were not as well suited to the new life style as they should have been.
The oldest colonist to arrive in Texas, was La Pere Lagogue. The aged Lagogue served as a soldier under the first Napoleon.

In the second year of La Reunion the drought continued, and a severe winter in 1856 froze the Trinity River. It became necessary for settlers to look outside of their colony for employment. Many began to teach school or music or seek jobs in their trades.
Investors began to ask about their investments and eventually, investors asked for a receiver. On January 28, 1857, one of the heads of the society gave formal notice that the colony had been dissolved. La Reunion colonists began to leave, some moved to New Orleans, some moved back to Europe and only a few remained at La Reunion.
The cattle, sheep and some land was sold to Confederates, but the money was worthless by the time it reached Europe.

Remnants of La Reunion are almost gone. A few Dallas streets honor some of the colonists at La Reunion including, Swiss Avenue, Nussbaumer, Boll, and Cantegral, though misspelled by the City, along with La Reunion Parkway, French Settlement Road, Bastille Road and La Tierre. The train station in downtown Dallas was named Reunion, as is the nearby sports arena and hotel. A city park was named after Reverchon and it is near proximity to the Stoneleigh Hotel where Dallas Q Meeting 2002 attendees stayed.

The small La Reunion cemetery remains on Fish Trap Road, the trail to the fish traps set along the Trinity by colonists. Among those buried in the cemetary are the remains of Pere Lagogue.
The historical marker in the cemetery reads: "Burial place of French, Belgian and Swiss settlers brought by Company for European - American colonization in Texas. This site was on road from La Reunion to willow fish traps set by the colonists in the Trinity. Early burials in this cemetery included aged French grenadier Pere Lagogue, also a young child of Colony Director, F. Cantagrel. The Company failed, but certain families remained including the Loupots, Remonds, Reverchons and Santeers. They became business and cultural leaders in Dallas area and used this cemetery as late as 1939 for family burials."

The sketch, at the top of the page, made by graphic artist Fred Kamacker during the 1920's, is of one of the c.1854 La Reunion stone houses. A cement factory occupied the site years later and now most of the acreage is covered with large warehouses and industrial buildings.

See photographs taken from a high point on the old settlement looking toward downtown Dallas and the Trinity River. Reunion Tower is the sphere-shaped building looking like a golf ball on a tee. Reunion Station and Reunion Arena are also nearby.

For additional stories of individual La Reunion colonists, visit:

Friday, 22 May 2009

For what it's worth....and just for Susan C.

As promised, there will be an upcoming post on the French settlement in Dallas in the late 1800's; however, it seemed like a good time to interject a little trivia, just for fun!

Baylor Medical Center, a leading hospital in the country, was begun in 1904. The prominent rancher C.C. Slaughter and apparently the largest tax payer in Texas, donated $50,000 towards the building of a new Baptist hospital in the State.

Originally known as Texas Baptist Memorial Sanatorium, it was built on one of Slaughter's cattle pastures. At the time, some Directors wanted to honor C.C., but wisdom prevailed....would you want to be treated at...Slaughter Hospital?!?

More recently, while we're on hospitals, Robert (Bob) Dedman, founder of CCA, Country Clubs of America, I think it's called, donated money to build a hospital in far North Dallas. I think wisdom prevailed once again... The facility was not named Dedman Hospital!

Lonesome Dove...remember the mini-series? Well, as legend has it, a dove landed on the shoulder of Baptist preacher, David Meyers, during his 1846 sermon. The church built on that site by the parishioners was named "Lonesome Dove Baptist Church." Larry McMurtry, author of the best-selling novel, noticed the church's sign while he was having lunch in the area and used the name for his new novel.

The idea of Master Card/Visa was created in Dallas. Three neighborhood shopping centers got together and came up with "prestocard" for the convenience of their patrons. I still have my mom's original prestocard. It was made of metal!

In 1934, Bonnie Parker's and Clyde Barrow's bodies were brought to Dallas for internment. Both lay in state in two different Dallas mortuaries for several days. It was estimated that 20,000 people passed through the doors of the facilities to view their bodies. If you don't recall, Bonnie and Clyde were from Dallas, turned to crime and were notorious bank robbers. Faye Dunaway portrayed Bonnie in the film version of their story. On May 23, near Arcadia, Louisiana, the two met their Waterloo. (I am supposed to be writing more about "French" things, so I need to throw in some French references from temps au temps.)

You've already read my Jayne Mansfield story in an earlier, here's a Bonnie & Clyde tale for you. On the day of the Barrow Gang's ambush, my mother-in-law, Margaret, her sister and their mother, were returning from a trip to see family in Alabama. They decided to stop for a Coca Cola at a roadside drug store in Louisiana. While there, Margaret said they heard a lot of commotion outside and upstairs in the drug store where they were enjoying Cokes. Before leaving on their journey back to Texas, they learned that the bodies of Bonnie and Clyde had been brought to the drug store and carried upstairs by local authorities.

The University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma have a big rivalry, to say the least. At least 5 times during the Texas/OU weekend, Clyde Barrow's 500 lb. gravestone has been stolen. I'm sure it was those Sooners who were the culprits!

Lastly, in the late 1970's, Ben Carpenter, a rancher and owner of 6,000 acres near DFW Airport, found out that the land around his ranch was going to be developed. To preserve his land the way he envisioned it, he decided to build his own town. Las Colinas is the result of his vision, a community of business, retail, residential living along with a system of canals! Las Colinas is also home to the world's largest equestrian sculpture. That's the ol' Texas spirit...just build your own town!

The French ARE Coming! Adieu!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Reminder of how to post a comment by Maggie B.

Susan C has asked what is a RAK?? Thinks we Brits talk funny!

I knew that someone would ask, so for anyone else who wasn't aware of the meaning, a RAK is a random act of kindness, and one lucky person who comments on our 50th blog post will receive an assortment of faience related goodies.

There is a list at the right hand side of this page of all our previous blog posts so you will be able to see when the big 50 is approaching.

You can comment on any of our posts, no need to wait until we hit 50.

In case you have forgotten how to post a comment, the tutorial is included in one of the very first posts back in February and is also to be found in the Members Only section on the QCI web site.

Your feedback is always appreciated.

The Dallas 2009 Collections

Mid May and the count down is on! In case you hadn't heard, the 10th Anniversary Meeting of the Quimper Club will be in Dallas, Oct 21-25. Sarah Anderson and I are looking forward to seeing you in Big D!

One of the highlights of every Q meeting, is the peek into private homes to see the beautiful, sometimes large, sometimes small, collections of faience belonging to our members. This year, 2009, my home is on the "official" tour. I will explain...

In 2002, the Q Meeting was held in Dallas and we were slightly ahead of schedule while on our collections tour. Some on my bus asked to stop at my home, a couple of blocks away, to make a quick run through. I guess they caught me at a weak moment and I agreed. You must know that as an organizer, I dashed out the door early that morning for the Stoneleigh Hotel where members were staying and I left everything behind in "as is" condition... and my husband, John, was "home alone." Scary!

I phoned John from the bus and gave him frantic orders to put away the breakfast dishes, pick up newspapers, make the bed, repaint, just kidding about the painting, but at that moment, I was wishing he could do some quick touch up and ready the house for the imminent arrival of two bus loads of people!

The group arrived and they spread like ants around the house to get a 10 minute look, upstairs and down, at the faience. It was rather humorous! John did a fairly good job of arranging the morning chaos, but sadly, I didn't notice the aroma of fresh paint!

This year, we will be an"official" stop on the tour and I can assure you, the beds will be made, dishes will be put away and "l'aire du paint" will be wafting throughout the house!

In our new home, the faience collection has been "refined", the term I use rather than admitting that there are still three boxes full of faience in the attic that remain homeless! Down-sizing and losing a bedroom, study, bath and quarters, does have it's down-side! Pieces are now concentrated in the kitchen and in my closet, with a light dusting in the den, living room, dining room, guest room and hallway. In print, that looks like a lot of "dust!"

The pieces now on display in my home are personal favorites! Some are quirky and most may have limited appeal to the average collector, but as we all know, every collection is different and interesting! In general, I am most drawn to the production of Malicorne, CA and because of the color and motifs, F Caen production, as well. Over time, I have also realized that animal figures and the forms made to look like something from life, not usually made from clay, i.e. a creel, basket, boat, fish, fruit, birds, horse shoes, horses, etc., are appealing to me.

As far as my collection goes, I will begin with possibly my quirkiest and likely one of my favorite pieces, the singing frog.
A few years ago, I saw a CA form in a private collection and at that moment I knew I had to find a frog! He is a charmer, as he sits belting out a tune straight from the bottom of his little heart, but I also know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! This CA piece is marked "A.B" and is signed "Pau" below the Henri IV crest.

His buddy, is Boulogne-sur-Mer production, marked "H D" and according to Emmanuel Delavenne, is a rare piece. Emmanuel caught a fleeting glimpse of "Kermit" during the "underground" tour through my home in 2002.

The ermine form, symbol of Anne de Bretagne, was likely produced by many factories. Pictured are two examples from Boulogne-sur-Mer. One ermine holds the crest of Anne, a gold fleur-de-lys with a blue background, marked "H D Blois" c.1920 and the other ermine holds the crest of Brittany and is marked "V J", c.1903-1917.

A salamander may not be charming to all, but Francois I (1494-1547) and I like it! The first example is white and covered with multi-colored fleur-de-lys and is unmarked. It was likely made in Desvres. The second salamander, all green, is marked "CA Langeais" behind the shield.
According to Millicent Mali's research, "when Francois was ten years old, his mother, Louise de Savoie had a medal struck for him. His head was portrayed on one side, the salamander was on the other. This fabulous lizard which thrives amid flames became Francois' emblem and it decorated his livery, his fireplaces and doorways."

When you visit my home, besides the animals, you will also see a couple of treasured Pecheur plates, PB botanicals, WWI plates, a kitchen cabinet built to hold my treasures and the desk/display cabinet in my closet, as I mentioned above. Where else could I see my CA faves first thing in the morning!?!...and it will the the first ever closet tour during a Q Meeting!

The other four collections we will visit in October belonging to Twila M, Betty O, Ann S and Beverly S, were not on the collection tour in 2002. In fact, Beverly's collection practically began with some purchases made during the 2002 Meeting! You will have to see it to believe it!!! Be sure to book your return flight in the evening, so you can attend the Sunday Brunch hosted by Pierre Deux and see the Sherman's collection afterwards. Truth be one wanted their home to follow that collection!!!

See you in Big D!

The next blog will focus on the early French settlement in Dallas.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Upcoming QCI Journal and a RAK

The next issue of the QCI Journal will be winging its way to all QCI members very soon, but just to whet your appetite here is a sneak preview of some of the highlights included this time.

I know you’re all waiting to read about the details of the upcoming Annual Meeting, which you may know by now is going to be held in Dallas, TX, and sure enough co - organisers Susan & Sarah have covered the topic from A to Z, everything you need to know about attending the meeting is here.

Two very interesting articles not to be missed are: a review by Antoine Maigne of his new book entitled “Terres Sacrees” and also an interview with artist Bel Delcourt by PhilippeThealet.

There are more tales from the fascinating world of Fakes and Forgeries, this time dealing with faienceries such as Malicorne, Desvres, Nevers, Moustier etc.

QCI members Trudi and Ros talk about their recent meeting on New Zealand’s South Island.

Menus are celebrated in the featured form article and the featured collection is a mother and daughter duo, Ann & Maggie both keen collectors, talk about their collections.

The QCI is celebrating its 10th Birthday this year, authors Sandra Bondhus and Adela Meadows take a look back over 10 years of the Quimper Club.

And news just in.............

Our webmaster Judy sent me the Weekly Stats Report for 11 – 17 May and I’m very happy to tell you that last week we had 166 visitors, our highest number since we started counting 11 weeks ago.
87 of you came to visit on Thursday which coincidentally just happened to be the day the Journal update email went out to all QCI members, now the trick is to keep you coming back.

RAK on the QCI Blog.........................
Watch out for our 50th blog post and leave a comment.
24 hours later I will randomly choose the winner, who will receive a grab bag of faience related goodies, generously donated by me.

Friday, 15 May 2009

The Nasher Collection by Susan C

In October, everything on the agenda is new from 2002's Meeting! The private collections, the hotel, the museums...everything! So far, I have written about Neiman's with the hope you will take the opportunity to see the store or have lunch there.

Two of the museums on the 2009 agenda in Downtown Dallas are named for the men that created and donated these wonderful collections to the citizens of Dallas, the Nasher and the Crow. Not being from Dallas, you may not be familiar with these names, in this blog and the next I will familiarize you with both of these outstanding men.

Ray Nasher, born in 1921, was the only child of a Russian immigrant living in Boston. He attended college at Duke and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He and his wife, Patsy, moved to Dallas in 1950.

Nasher, a developer, had his biggest success from developing NorthPark Center. He selected land for the development in the early 1960's, directly across the street from the Caruth family's home place where the family still grazed cattle in the fields. Many considered the idea of developing a mall, a bit crazy, since the mall idea was still a new concept.

Opening in 1965, Nasher's big break came when he convinced Stanley Marcus to move his Preston Center store to NorthPark. Northpark thrived and it became the premiere shopping center in the city and remains as one of the most successful businesses in the State.
Though Nasher was successful in the real estate business, his passion was the arts. He and Patsy began to learn about art through reading and traveling, and began to buy pieces of Pre-Columbian art.

In 1967, Patsy made the first major purchase, buying a Jean Arp sculpture for Ray's birthday. He loved the piece and the serious collecting began. Henry Moore, Joan Miro, Alexander Calder works were added to their home. In 1971, Nasher commissioned sculptor, Beverly Pepper, to make a work for NorthPark, since he felt that the Center should be about more than shopping.

Nasher continued to concentrate on sculpture, since he thought the pieces cost less than paintings. So throughout the 1980's and 90's he stepped up his purchasing, adding pieces by Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, as well as, Rodin, Giacometti and Picasso.

After Patsy's death in 1988, he focused more on growing the collection, filling his home, gardens and atriums of his developments. Many museums were contacting Nasher, wanting his collection and there was much speculation about where the collection would eventually be housed. The National Gallery of Art and the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco were very interested in becoming the future home of the sculpture collection. In 1997, the Guggenheim devoted the entire museum to a showing of Nasher's collection. In the 80's, the Dallas Museum of Art constructed a special garden, with the hope, Nasher would keep the works at home in Dallas.

Nasher did decide to leave the collection "where his family was", in Dallas. However, he used his own money, 70 million dollars, to build his own 55,000 square foot museum and sculpture garden, which opened in 2005, adjacent to the DMA.

Indeed, Nasher collected well known artists works, but the names are not what would draw him to a piece, rather it was the strong emotional attachment he would feel with certain works. Like people, he believed sculptures had to be seen from all sides. He deeply believed that art should be a part of people's daily experience. According to Ray Nasher, "Being around great things makes life a little more pleasant."

Raymond Nasher passed away in March of 2007, at the age of 85, leaving a sculpture collection estimated at more than $400 million dollars.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

QCI Charter Member Diane Robinson remembers the early days.

In a recent blog post Susan C mentioned one reason why there may be so many Q collectors in Dallas and to be sure there are some wonderful collections lined up for QCI members to visit during the upcoming annual meeting, in October.

However, one private collection that won't be on the tour belongs to QCI charter member and Web Committee member Diane.
Diane has very kindly agreed to share with us some pix of her collection and some recollections of the early days when the Club was just getting under way.

"Ten or eleven years ago I found an internet web site called "French Faience Collectors". Lucy Williams had already started soliciting members for the new club she was forming and I signed up.
One day I saw a posting on the Collector's site from someone in Wichita Falls, Texas telling of a find there, a French Armoire. I quickly responded and told them all about the new Q Club that was forming having no clue that the posting was from Lucy Williams! Well, I was embarrassed! I was just so excited to find another person in Texas who was interested in Quimper.

In the beginning I had no collecting philosophy, it was just a hunt to find something. Of course, there was no local source (that I knew of) to find the unusual, different or spectacular in Dallas.

I remember when I found ebay and how strange it was to see a lot of items, some good and some not so good, in one place.

One day I received a newsletter telling about a trip to France and the Q factory led by Ann Marie O'Neill. I convinced my sister to accompany me and off we went never dreaming of where this adventure would eventually lead us. A great time was had by all and some of us had to have friends help us carry our finds on the airplane home, thanks Sheena! That was just before all the high tech security began.

It was on this trip in '96 that I purchased my first Paul Fouillen "Pecheur" plates, I think that decor is one of my favourites. In a market with Ann Marie we found a pair of Pecheur type vases which I really wanted. AM was to return to purchase them but that didn't happen, sigh, they have never been seen by my eyes again.
Lesson: buy it when you see it!
One of the best things that came out of this trip was making special friends, many are now QCI members too.

During this trip we accompanied AM to the market at Chatou and during the cab ride she suggested that she might be able to come to Dallas for a private showing. She did just that and we wiped out her inventory which she was planning to take to Houston for the big show there later that month. We have had that fun party many times since then.

It seems like yesterday since I sent Lucy that first email. Through the QCI I have made good friends from all parts of the world, I always enjoy the annual faience sales but the friendships we have formed are the icing on the cake."

Monday, 11 May 2009

Before you come to Texas....a tongue in cheek look at the "culture" by Susan.

As most readers of this blog will already know the annual QCI Meeting will be held in Dallas, TX in October this year and as co-organiser, Susan felt that there were one or two things you ought to know before you go.
If this will be your first trip to Texas, we do need to get a few things straight. I must tell you that though you may think otherwise, every Texan does not drive a Cadillac with a set of horns from a Longhorn steer mounted on the hood, own an oil well, know how to ride a horse or wear cowboy boots.
Sad, isn't it! Don't despair, this native can ride, has trained a horse, owns cowboy boots AND had a grandfather nearly strike the big one in the early part of the last century. I won't bother telling you that this is the same grandfather who turned down the bottling rights to Coca-Cola in North Texas. sigh...

Before you arrive, we need to talk about the language. English is not English. Ask Maggie or Gay! With a few Texan words, you will be hangin' with the best of 'em while you are in Big D!

Y'all (yawl) is a term for a group of people. It will be used to "round-up" members before bus departures.
Fixin' is a term that will be used primarily to indicate the imminent departure of the bus, or the start of a tour or the tour is almost over.
Heidi can be used as a substitute for "Howdy."
Righcheer denotes a specific location.
Comeawn is used to speed up a group of people, a dog or a child.

Therefore, when the Meeting planners say, "Heidi y'all, the bus is fixin' to leave. Comeawn and get your seat" OR After your museum visit, "the bus will pick you up righcheer, so when you're fixin' to catch the bus, comeawn back to this corner" you will know what we're saying! And don't forget, jes think of what yew sound lak to a Texan!

Texas trivia...DID YOU KNOW:
Texas is the only State that can fly it's flag at the same height as the US flag?
Texas is the only State that was it's own Country?
The dome of the Texas State Capitol stands 7' higher than the US Capitol?
The first word spoken from the moon was "Houston?"
The King Ranch is bigger than the State of Rhode Island?
Texas is home to Dr Pepper, Dell, Lay's, Compaq, Southwest Airlines, Six Flags & Whataburger?
Chili is the State food of Texas and Austin is the live music capitol of the world?
If you're in El Paso, Texas, you're closer to California than you are to Dallas?
As they say around here, "Nowhere else but Texas!"

If you travel around the State, you will notice some unusual town names. Hungry? Try visiting Bacon, Oatmeal, Turkey, Trout, Rice, Salty and Sugarland, Texas! Looking for the Old West? Visit Hoop and Holler, Muleshoe, Cut 'n Shoot and Gun Barrel City. If you are visiting in the winter, try a stay in Frost, Blanket or Energy. Hot in the summer? Try Winters, Texas, to chill out. Are the kids bored? Kermit, Elmo, Nemo, Tarzan or Sylvester should liven up the day! Are you a low-techie? Telephone and Telegraph, TX are for you! On a budget? The towns of Nickle and Dime, Texas should fit into the budget! Feeling blue? Stop in Pep, Smiley, Sunrise, Rainbow, Paradise, Comfort, or Sunny Side, Texas to brighten up your day. Ready to get out of the US? Athens, China, Egypt, Ireland, London, Paris, Moscow or Earth and Venus would make very interesting postmarks! Santa Fe, Reno, Miami, etc. are all here, too. There's some place for everyone!

My real recommendations for cities to visit would be San Antonio to see the old Spanish Missions and the Riverwalk. The "river" could possibly be crossed at a narrow spot by an Olympic long jumper, but it's a fun place! Besides, the Alamo is there! Austin, the State Capitol, where the bumper stickers read "Keep Austin Weird" has a huge colony of bats living under a downtown overpass and are quite a sight to see as they take flight at dusk!
Austin is also home to the best grocery store ever, Whole Foods!
Jefferson, a quaint mid 1800's town, filled with bed & breakfasts, restored homes, some antique shops and a bayou lined with moss draped trees also has a "killer" catfish restaurant, like those in the Louisiana bayous.
Lastly, I have to include Houston, for a trip to NASA and Bayou Bend, the home of the late Texas Governor Hogg, filled with antiques and surrounded with beautiful gardens.
Oops, did I forget Ft. Worth? Just kidding! Try Kinkaid's for burgers, Railhead or Angelo's for GREAT BBQ and Joe T. Garcia's for Mexican food. The food is not that great, but the place and its' outdoor patio is legendary! The Cowgirl Museum, The Kimball Museum, The Amon Carter Museum and the Modern Art Museum make it worth the trip!

Many actors, inventors, business men and women, as well as, entertainers hail from the State. Names you would recognize include: Buddy Holly, Mary Kay Ash, Howard Hughes, Walter Cronkite, Ross Perot, Admiral Nimitz, Tex Ritter, Janis Joplin, Carol Burnett, Willie Shoemaker, Larry Hagman (JR Ewing), Roy Orbison, Red Adair, Joan Crawford and Jayne Mansfield. I actually went to that Jayne Mansfield event the The Cotton Bowling Palace with my Dad. It was very exciting! I may have been 7 or 8 years old. As it turns out, my husband John was there, too. He however, was 16 or 17, so even if he'd bumped into me, he wouldn't have given me a second look with Jayne around!!!

Earlier, I may have mentioned the rivalry between Ft. Worth and Dallas. In FTW, there's a BBQ restaurant that sells t-shirts proclaiming "Life's too short to live in Dallas." I have seen another shirt with "Dallas, where the East peters out." I think it all began in the early 1900's. Ft Worth lost some game to Dallas. The bottom line is, Dallas is bigger and more urban and FTW is more Western. Dallas is over it!

Yes, Texans are proud to be Texans. We just can't help it! With the likes of Mr. Stanley, Trammel Crow, Ray Nasher, Ross Perot and Mary Kay, it's easy to think big! You'll occasionally see non-natives sporting bumper stickers that read, "Not native, but I got to Texas as soon as I could." When you come to Dallas, as "when in Rome," immerse yourself in the great shopping, have a Dr Pepper with your Whataburger, enjoy the big blond hair, the Hummers, the language, the Mexican food and by the time you leave Dallas, you might even take on a little of that Texas swagger yourself! Yee Haw!

Oops... I forgot the Chocolate! Happy Mother's Day!

You just thought I was through with NM stories! After posting the last article, I remembered one funny tale.
Since it involved chocolate, I thought I'd save it for Mother's Day!

There is an urban legend regarding a chocolate chip cookie recipe, that has been passed around for as long as I can remember. According to the storyline, many years ago, a customer came with her daughter to shop at Neiman's.

At lunchtime, they stopped at the NM cafe, ordering 2 salads. After eating their salads, and both being chocolate lovers, they each ordered a chocolate chip cookie to finish off their meal. Enjoying the cookie so much, the woman asked the waitress if she could get a copy of the recipe. The waitress responded that she could not give her the recipe, but she could buy it. "How much", asked the woman. The waitress replied, "only two fifty. It's a great deal". The customer agreed and went on her way with the recipe.

Thirty days later, the woman received her statement with a bill for the two salads - $9.95, scarf - $20 and a charge of $250 - Cookie recipe. The woman was outraged and called the store to complain, but did not get the matter resolved.

In return, the woman to get some satisfaction, sent the recipe to everyone she knew, claiming that she didn't want Neiman's to ever make another penny off of their recipe.

Well, the truth of the matter is, Neiman's never served chocolate chip cookies at The Little Mermaid or at the Zodiac Room. After years of dealing with the story that would never die, Neiman's decided to create its' own chocolate chip cookie to sell in their restaurant.

The following is the original recipe, that legend has it, cost the customer $250, followed by the recipe created by Neiman's.

"Urban Legend" Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
2 C butter
4 C flour
2 tsp soda
2 C sugar
5 C blended oatmeal
24 ozs chocolate chips
2 C brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 8 oz Hershey Bar (grated)
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
3 C chopped nuts (your choice)

Measure oatmeal and blend to a fine powder. Cream the butter and both sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place 2" apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 mins. at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

NM Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C brown sugar
3 tsp granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 C flour
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder, slightly crushed
8 ozs semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream the butter with the sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. Combine the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 or 10-12 for a crispier cookie. Makes 15 large cookies.

Happy Baking and Happy Mother's Day! Enjoy!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Quimper and the Neiman Marcus Fortnight

Stanley Marcus, marketing genius that he was, came up with an idea to boost retail sales during the lull between the fall fashion season and Christmas. The idea came to him during a visit to Stockholm, Sweden, as he viewed a store front promoting a French-themed sales promotion. In the 1950's, it was a unique marketing concept since most Americans did not travel abroad; therefore, Marcus decided he would bring the World to Dallas!

A year before the first ever "Fortnight", Mr. Marcus sent 20 NM buyers to France to search for merchandise representative of that Country. Everything from food to fashion was selected and ordered for the special two week event.

Marcus began lobbying local businesses and museums to partner with him, to immerse the city in French culture. He arranged for French tapestries to be exhibited at Memorial Auditorium; French paintings to be on display at the Dallas Museum of Fine Art (now known as the Dallas Museum of Art - "DMA"); French films to be shown in area theatres; French entertainment to be booked at local clubs and he encouraged civic clubs to invite French speakers for meetings. It was a massive and masterful coup to orchestrate and promote a city-wide event!

The year 1957 arrived and the work continued. Nine months before the Fortnight, Marcus hosted a lunch, inviting civic leaders to lobby for their support. 1957 also happened to be the 50th anniversary of Neiman Marcus. The event was to be the biggest birthday party any retailer had ever attempted to throw. Neiman's paid for advertising supplements in Vogue and the Dallas Times Herald to announce the first ever NM Fortnight.

The store was completely transformed with Franco-inspired decor and filled with the merchandise selected by the 20 buyers the previous year. Everyone was ready for opening day!

The six-story birthday cake's interior included a first floor staged as the Place de la Concorde, the second floor's walls were hung with $10,000 worth of donated draperies from French textile makers and interspersed with three dimensional copies of Gauguins, Mondrians, Legers made with life-sized dummies and the fourth floor was set up as Christain Dior's boutique in Paris.

As the Fortnight began, an Air France Constellation, Dallas' first International flight, arrived at Love Field. A high school band played La Marseillaise as the Dallas Mayor greeted the Mayor of Dijon and French dignitaries along with business and fashion industry leaders. Later, representatives from Christofle, Baccarat and other business leaders arrived in Dallas for the festivities. It was reported that French artist, Bernard Buffet, was an instant Dallas hit as he donned a 10 gallon Stetson hat.

The Official festivities opened in the Zodiac Room. The NM restaurant was transformed into Maxim's with its' walls covered with photo murals. Ambassador Herve Alphand gave a speech as guests dined on $25. a plate lobster and champagne dinner.

During the Fortnight, Stanley Marcus was awarded the Chevalier Award from the French Legion of Honor. The order was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.

Marcus succeeded in getting support from area businesses and clubs. The city was in a French freny! Included in the city-wide activities, the Dallas Museum of Fine Art displayed 32 Toulouse-Lautrecs during a special exhibit and the Kiwanis Club and Y.M.C.A. hosted lunches for the dignitaries.

The Fortnight was a huge success. Time Magazine covered the event in its' October 28, 1957, issue. The 2 week party was referred to as "Dallas in Wonderland." It was reported that the event cost approximately $400,000. The French government and fashion industry contributed around $80,000 toward that amount. Marcus' gamble paid off. Neiman's sales went up 25% in the first few days of the Fortnight and sales throughout the Fortnight hit
approximately $2,000,000!

Before the French Fortnight was over, British interests had contacted Marcus, asking him to hold a British Fortnight the following year, which he did. Other Countries recognized with Fortnights included: Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Austria, Japan, Ireland, Brazil, Spain, Greece, Germany, Ruritania and ending with Australia in 1986.

Some of the very most unique exhibits displayed during a Fortnight include the 1980 Spanish Fortnight, in which a bull was brought into the china department, a live crocodile was present at the entry into the Lacoste shop during a French Fortnight, an elephant was created from fuschia orchids in 1969 for the East Meets West Fortnight and in 1967, the main floor of the store was turned into an English Manor Hall.

For photos and Fortnight artwork, click on or cut & paste: html

Many people ask why Texas has so many Quimper collectors. I believe that we can safely attribute some or most of this phenomenon directly to Stanley Marcus. During the years 1957 - 1986, NM hosted French Fortnights, 4 times. During at least one of these events, Marcus and sold Quimper that was marked "made especially for Neiman Marcus." (see example.) I believe the china department carried the faience as a regular item for many years. I know of some Dallas brides who selected Quimper for their "everyday" pattern, a few years ago.

This wraps up the NM portion of the blog. I hope you will take time to visit "the store" during the Q Annual Meeting and consider having lunch in the Zodiac Room. You will love their famous popovers!