Sunday, 30 August 2009

Au revoir.......................Maggie Bryant

Summer is almost over and so too is my stint as this month's blogger.

I have enjoyed sharing thoughts about Q & other things, with you and I hope that you have found them interesting.

If you've enjoyed my ramblings over the past four weeks pop over to my Normandy Life blog from time to time and stay in touch.

Sarah A will be taking over as guest blogger in September.

Most of you will know her through the QCI and may also know that she will be co-hosting the QCI Annual meeting in Dallas in October.
Other newer readers of this blog will know her through her own blog, Hyacinths for the Soul.
(Note to QCI Members only: if you have a personal blog which you would like to link to the QCI blog then email me your details and we'll link to you.)
The Cercle du Soldat plates which featured in the Rooster party post seem to have been a big hit so I thought I'd share a few of the other decors with you in this final post.

Before I sign off today, I have been asked to pass on a request to all members of the QCI.

Club member and author Rita Euzet is currently researching the work of Eugène Blot in preparation for an article, which she is planning to write.
She is looking for photos of statuettes signed BLOT or E. BLOT or EUG. BLOT, and also any bearing the town names of Dieppe, Boulogne-sur-mer, Ostend and other towns.
“Je travaille pour un article, sur la biographie complète d’Eugène Blot statuaire boulonnais. Eugène Blot étant nait et mort dans l’Oise, cet article paraîtra dans la revue du Groupe d’Etudes et de Recherches des Céramiques du Beauvaisis GRECB.
Pour cet article je recherche des photos de statuettes signées BLOT ou E. BLOT ou EUG. BLOT et le nom de la ville soit Dieppe, soit Boulogne-sur-mer, soit Ostende et peut-être d’autres noms villes.”

You will find details on how to contact Rita on the QCI Membership list found on the Members only page of the Club's web site.

Thanks for your company and support, keep checking back next month for Sarah's posts and all the up to date information on the QCI's 10th Anniversary party in Big D.

à bien tôt

Thursday, 27 August 2009

French faïence Rooster Maggie Bryant

This is a first for the QCI Blog, we are joining in a Rooster blogparty being hosted by Barb @ Bella Vista. Click here to see over 200 blogs participating in the fabulous event today.

Lovers of French faïence surely know about the long standing love affair between faïence& le Coq. Think Sonny & Cher, Lennon & McCartney or Simon & Garfunkel (o.k. I'm a flower child of the '60's, what can I say?)

For any Rooster party bloggers who may be visiting us today there follows a short lesson:

History of Le Coq, 101.

The Gallic Rooster (Coq Gaulois), or cockerel, is the French national emblem, as symbolic as the stylised French Lily. From the very roots of French history, the Latin word Gallus means both "rooster" and "inhabitant of Gaul". The French rooster emblem adorned the French flag during the revolution. With the success of the Revolution in 1848, the rooster was made part of the seal of the Republic. In 1899, it was imbossed on a more widespread device, the French 20 franc gold coins. The Coq Gaulois has often been the symbol on French stamps over the years, although now (in 2006) the generic French stamp depicts a stylised "Marianne".

"A chicken in every pot" is more than a political slogan — at the beginning of the 17th century, King Henri IV is supposed to have said "If God allows me to live, I will see that there is not a single labourer in my kingdom who does not have a chicken in his pot every Sunday" (Si Dieu me prête vie, je ferai qu'il n'y aura point de laboureur en mon royaume qui n'ait les moyens d'avoir le dimanche une poule dans son pot ) here

Le Coq & French faïence.

In the December 2003 issue of the Journal QCI member Jeffrey Ruthizer wrote a very interesting and informative article about Quimper faïence from WWI and WWII.
"at the end of WWI the Henriot factory in Quimper began to make the patriotic plates for the famous "Cercle du Soldat" series.
The back of each plate shows the title "Cercle du Soldat du Vie art 1917", the factory mark" HR Quimper and a person's name, either the student artist who designed the image on the plate or, more likely, one of the few remaining artists at the Henriot factory who painted the art student's design."

These are just two of the amazing decors produced, see the full article for more fascinating details about the Cercle du Soldat plates and other patriotic faïence.

Le Coq was also a very popular decor used on snuff bottles and in a tutorial, to be found in the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of the QCI Journal, entitled "Snuff and Secouttes: A History of Compatible Companions" Quimper author & expert Sandra Bondus explains thus:
"Faïence snuff bottles were very affordable. Due to their diminuitive size they were also easy to carry home in pockets and purses as souvenirs of a trip to Brittany. The faïence snuffs became very popular as tokens of affection and friendship.
Thus the heart- shaped form and little books with crowing roosters inscribed with the phrase
"Quand ce coq chantera, mon amour finira" (when this rooster crows, my love will end)
"Quand ce coq chantera, mon amitie finira" (when this coq crows, my friendship will end)."

These four book shaped snuffs do not bear a manufacturers mark but are believed to be

L to R: Quimper; AP; Malicorne & Desvres.

But don't worry, in case you are thinking that these these phrases mean the love or friendship offered is a fickle thing, they are in fact positive affirmations.

Since the snuffs are made of faïence this coq will never crow, therefore the love or friendship will be everlasting!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

FYI.............................. by Maggie Bryant

Today I thought that I would follow up on some of my previous blogs especially the last one which featured Doris’ collection.

Firstly, I want to mention a couple of articles that have appeared in the QCI Journal.
In Vol. 7 No 1, May 2005 author and Quimper expert Sandra Bondhus wrote about “Diminutive Delights”. “Miniature pieces which appeal to the child in all of us and have always held a special place in many collectors’ hearts”

It is an excellent tutorial on the type of Quimper pieces produced and the wooden Plozevet furniture on which they were displayed.

This leads me on to another very interesting article that appeared in the December Journal of the same year.
This time written by Don Batten with photography by Janice Kania it was entitled “Plozevet Museum of little Breton furniture”.
In the article Don explains that although he cherishes his miniature pieces of Breton furniture he always only used them as a backdrop for his pottery display.
That is until a visit to the Musee de Petits Meubles Breton convinced him that every piece is special and deserves more than a supporting role. There follows a fascinating glimpse into the legend, production, construction and producers of this charming Breton product.

On a personal note I think that every Q collection should have at least one piece of Plozevet in it, they can really bring a display to life.

In the same issue as the Plozevet article the Form & Decors article featured faience coffee & tea pots by Barbara Richardson, illustrated with some wonderful photographs submitted by the membership.
And.....whilst we're on the subject, a comment was posted on the “Nice cup of Tea” blog post earlier this month.
Hi, Maggie,
I've always wondered how to distinguish between French faience TEA and COFFEE sets! Can you explain the differences?
Thanks, Laverne

and I replied:
Welcome Laverne, you managed it at last!!
For me it's as simple as "is it a tea pot or a coffee pot? Round or tall?"
Anyone else care to comment?
Further investigation led me to the May 2006 issue of the Journal where I found that this same question had appeared in the Q&A section.

The reply that was given was this:

Coffee or tea? How do we tell the specific use intended for a given pot? Basically, two factors may be considered. One involves the pot itself. If the inside opening of the spout is made with a series of small holes, the vessel is considered a teapot – the small holes are intended to filter the tea leaves as the tea was poured. If the inner spout opening is just a single large opening, the pot is meant for coffee, which is not brewed in the pot.
The second consideration is the size of the cups. The French use a small cup for coffee (usually expresso), a medium cup for tea and the very large cups for breakfast (often coffee or tea au lait).
However, in the old Quimper catalogues, we see that very often the same pot, cream, and sugar served as the basis of a coffee, tea or breakfast service, the only difference being the size of the cups. This explains why the word verseuse, which means “something to pour from”, is frequently used as it covers both possibilities.
As mentioned in the previous blog some Journal back issues are available, simply email the Journal Editor. (The contact email addresses can be found in the Editorial Board announcement on the inside front page of your Journal).

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Two (or more) passions combined Maggie Bryant & Doris Long

I think that by now most of you who follow this blog will probably have gathered that the Quimper Club is celebrating its 10th Birthday this year.
One of the Club’s Charter members, Doris a collector of Quimper for over 25 years, wrote an article that appeared in the Fall/Winter issue of the Club Newsletter in 1999.
It was entitled “Two Passions Combined” and with Doris’ kind permission I am sharing a short extract with you in today’s blog, illustrated with Doris’ own photographs.

“On a day in 1989 my Victoria magazine arrived in the mail. Scanning its pages, I found the most fascinating person, whom I just had to learn more about.

This was artist Tasha Tudor, and I was enchanted by her love of dolls, the doll family she had created, her doll house which held such little treasures, not to mention her passion for gardening.

Later a doll was offered for sale whom I named Anna Belle and I commissioned Marjorie Tudor to make a groom for Anna Belle, (William Andrew Billingsley).

A few years down the road I added Euphenia Fenno Tudor to the collection.

I was lucky enough to win her in an auction, completely handmade by Tasha and costumed by her with Joan De Gustos’s assistance.
It has been a great delight to be able to combine two passions, in miniature.
In the kitchen I have displayed Quimper plates, a collection of Santons and handmade Nantucket baskets made by a friend.

Life would be pretty boring if we couldn’t remain kids at heart”

In 2006 I had the pleasure of meeting Doris in her beautiful home and seeing her stunning collection for myself.

Although Quimper is the main focus the collection does include other French faience including pieces from Nevers, Malicorne.
Reflecting her love of the sea an interesting selection of Fouillen pieces from the pecheur series.

Doris has a particular fondness for jardinières and as a keen gardener always keeps them filled with fresh flowers from her garden, whenever possible.

Always an involved member of the QCI, Doris wrote an article entitled "Les Provinces, and more......................." which was published in the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of the Journal.

In this very informative article she discusses the series "Provinces Francaises", yet another genre close to her heart, produced by the Grand Maison during the first half of the 20th century.

For more information on Tasha Tudor visit

Thursday, 20 August 2009

HB Quimper broderie Maggie Bryant

From comments posted on my last blog post it would seem that I am not alone in admiring Breton costumes and coiffes.

Gay reminded me that author & guest blogger Adela Meadows wrote about the Traditional Costumes of Finistere in Vol 8 and Vol 9 of the Journal and that there are back issues available if you do not have them already.

You may remember that last month past President Judy Datesman wrote two blogs about the wonderful Fête des Brodeuses in Pont-l'Abbé, the photographs made you want to be there yourself.

If you have just discovered our Club blog then why not take a moment or two to read the very interesting posts of our previous bloggers.

In the 1920's the Grande maison de la Hubaudiere began producing a new line of faïence pieces decorated with wedding, christening and market scenes, peopled by men women & children all wearing traditional costumes.

What made these pieces special however were the intricate border decorations, inspired by the embroidery used to embellish costumes such as those worn by the participants in the Fête des Brodeuses.
Some pieces were decorated solely a la poire such as this large platter that resides upon the mantlepiece in my dining room. It has a diameter of 55 centimetres and weighs approx. 5 kilos!

Close up of the centre of the large platter above.

The technique of applying the paint to the surface of the piece was known as à la poire, perlé or tubé décor and was acheived with the aid of a small rubber pear shaped tool, the poire, which had been designed specifically for the task. Small beads of coloured glaze were applied to the surface of the piece creating an effect similar to raised icing on a cake.

Many chargers, vases, and plates were produced bearing striking Celtic motifs such as hearts, grapes & vines.

The pink, green, white and ochre glazes contrasting beautifully against the deep cobalt blue or sometimes brown background.

Post WWII a new variation of the decor emerged incorporating gold accents, however, due to the rising costs involved in such a labour intensive process, manufacture of the decor ceased in the 1950's.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

vide greniers, coiffes and other Maggie Bryant

As a dyed in the wool “antiquer” I love to scour flea markets and vide greniers whenever I have the chance.
A few weeks ago whilst mooching around a Sunday morning vide grenier, held in a nearby village, I discovered a jumbled up box of reproduction old French postcards.

After leisurely sorting through them I found this charming pair, "Fileuse de Pontivy and a "Jeune Bigoudenn" which I promptly bought to add to my collection of Breton ephemera.

I thought they went well with this vintage book from the 1950’s which I came across at an Antique Fair in Brittany some years ago.

The book is entitled "Coiffes de Bretagne" and was written by Pierre Helias, the photographer was Jos Le Doare.

The costumes of Brittany have fascinated me from the very start of my interest in Quimper faience and this book with its detailed descriptions and superb photography, although now long out of print, is a mine of information. If you ever come across a copy I recommend that you snap it up immediately.

This week whilst rearranging some of my collection of Quimper and Malicorne plates I realised that, despite some minor differences in the artists interpretation these four hand painted plates featuring a simple a Petite Bretonne bear a striking resemblance to one another.

The simple coiffe is somewhat reminiscent of a more elaborate one described in the book as “Giz Ploare” which is traditionally worn in the environs of Douarnenez and was known as the “poch kevnid”.
There is a footnote which adds that the coiffe worn around the port of Douarnenez is a little different and has the nick name “penn sardine”.

Beside faience I also collect Galerie Armoricaine prints and I found both of these on a trawl through the Trocante in St. Lo a few years ago.

This pretty lady with two beautiful children is “Femme de Rosporden” (Finistere) and I think her coiffe is exquisite.

And the lady in this print, about to accept a proposal of marriage perhaps, is “Femme de Guemene (Morbihan)