Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Treasured Melissa Bennett

October has arrived and with it our new Guest Blogger - Melissa who will be sharing her love of Quimper with us and co blogging from the annual QCI meeting in a few weeks time.

Melissa's first post today is linking to Vintage Thingies Thursday over @ Colorado Lady please hop on over to visit our gracious hostess Suzanne for more Vintage treasures.

I'm Melissa and am delighted to be able to share my collection of Quimper, Desvres, and Rouen faience with you this month.

I became fascinated with the wonderful patterns and colors of Quimper faience almost 30 years ago when I inherited a luncheon set that my grandmother had purchased in 1939 in Chicago at Carson Pirie Scott department store - the first year Quimper was imported to the US for sale.

I started collecting other pieces at antique shows in the early 80's when it was still rare to see. Then in the late 90's I moved to eBay and my collection started to grow enormously! I had also been buying the new Quimper in Stonington and going to their yearly sales in the 90's. I was on their newsletter mailing list and heard about QCI being formed, and I was absolutely thrilled!!

I was unable to attend any of the annual meetings until they came to Boston and was absolutely delighted to meet the QCI members in person and share collecting stories, as well as make wonderful new friends!

Since then I have attended every meeting and was elected to the Board as Historian in 2006.

I'd like to share a collecting experience from the time in the early 1980's when I was just realizing there was a world of Quimper.

The pattern of my grandmother's set was the very popular Henriot pattern with the Breton or Bretonne stading in the center with shrubbery and a floral border around the edges, and with the signature blue line, and bright yellow border.

This set was marked Henriot Quimper and consisted of luncheon plates, cups and saucers and butter plates.

I was delighted with this set as it was unlike anything else I had seen.

Then the next year when I was cruising the antiques and crafts show with my best friend, an interior designer, she spotted some small plates, an oil and vinager huillier, and a beautiful fan shaped wall ornament. I had no idea there were other patterns and colors of Quimper and started asking the dealer about them. I was particularly interested in the fan shaped object.

He knew only a little bit about these items and speculated that since this was to hang on a wall it was a vase. I was so enthralled that I bought it despite the cracks and chips, not knowing that that affected it's value greatly.

The blue and white cross-hatching is enhanced with tiny red x's on the sides.

Upon early research in Sandara Bondhus's book Quimper Pottery: A French Folk Art Faience I discovered that it was for holding matches and was probably hung on the wall next to the fireplace.

It is signed HB Quimper and was probably made in the 1920's. I hang it on one side of my mirror, paired with a square match holder, so I can see it every morning!

I adore this little item and it will always remind me of my first purchase and the start of my hunting craze!

au revoir



  1. Always good to find out how collections started, and the little match holder is just darling !

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog, I thought I was the only one up at this time of the night. Time to go to

  3. I've seen similar wall pockets for matches (not Quimper) in the shape of a bellows like this one.

  4. This was very interesting to read and see!

  5. Melissa, how nice that you will be blogging for October. I enjoyed hearing about how you began collecting and seeing some of your favorite things.

  6. I had heard the word "Quimper" somewhere but did not know what it was and now I do. Thanks for the education.

  7. I love those folk art designs.

  8. Love the match holder wall pocket, that is really nice. Interesting information here to day...and great pictures. Thanks for sharing with us your treasures.

    Have a great Weekend and a wonderful VTT!

  9. I have read about Quimper many times, in magazines, but I don't think I've ever seen any in person, and I've never known anyone who collects it, so this was very enjoyable to see! That fan-shaped match holder has got to be the cutest piece of Quimper that there is! It's just adorable! Melissa, I wish you luck on your quest for more Quimper!
    Happy VTT!

  10. Hi, I linked over from VTT. Your Quimper is so beautiful! I once had a small piece in the shape of an envelope. It was before I knew what is was and sold it for $5. I know...I could kick myself! C'est la Vie!

  11. Melissa,
    I enjoyed your first post and reading about how you got started with your collection. How wonderful to have inherited the luncheon from your grandmother. Also fun to know about your first Q purchase. The little match holder is dear. I'm glad you rescued it, chips and all.
    I look forward to reading your posts this month and seeing you in Dallas in a few weeks. ~ Sarah

  12. I love the little bellows!! I've loved Quimper since the seventies---I read of it in some decorating magazine, and when I was invited to a luncheon at a friend's home, I was delighted to see my first actual tablesettings.

    And, having only READ of it, my pronunciation was a bit off, I fear, for thinking of it as a proper name, I admired her "Quim-per" and soon after found how I had mis-spoken.

    I was embarrassed in retrospect, so to speak, and wanted to mention it again, perfect inflection and all. Isn't that silly?

    I love yours, and will look forward to looking in again soon.

  13. I'm glad I read your post! I have seen pieces like this but didn't know they were called Quimper. I always learn so much on VTT! Thanks!

  14. I'm guessing that your "fan shaped" item is actually a bellows shape - - - at least I've seen little bellows in that EXACT shape. The top is the handle, and it was squeezed back and forth with the bottom pointed toward the fire. I believe blacksmiths used bellows like that.

  15. I loved the way you started, so much the way others of us have started our collections, and we never stop learning about something new, right, Melissa? I love the plate with the 1743 date at the heading of the Quimper Club blog! What is is?
    And Kathi Fly, if you like this, be sure to check the page!