Sunday, 4 October 2009

Blue (and White) Quimper

It's Blue Monday over at Smiling Sally's and Mosaic Monday at Mary's Little Red House which gives me the opportunity to share with you my love of blue and white faience.

Please join both of our gracious Hostesses for more Monday magic.

My favorite color is yellow.... and what goes best with yellow? Blue (and white)! Especially the blue and white Quimper faience in my bright yellow dining room. Several of these pieces have a fleur de lis pattern on them, including a spectacular coffee set I found in a small shop in Quimper.

I have always been enamored of the fleur de lis pattern in just about anything: fabrics, wall coverings, objets, and pottery. The pattern has always seemed so cheerful and joyous.

The English translation of "fleur-de-lis" (sometimes spelled "fleur-de-lys") is "flower of the lily." This symbol, depicting a stylized lily or iris, has many meanings. Traditionally, it has been used to represent French royalty, and in that sense it is said to signify perfection, light, and life. In the twelfth century, either King Louis VI or King Louis VII (sources disagree) became the first French monarch to use the fleur-de-lis on his shield. English kings later used the symbol on their coats of arms to emphasize their claims to the throne of France, though decorative ornaments that resemble the fleur-de-lis have appeared in artwork from the earliest human civilizations.

I was so excited to find this beautiful blue and white fleur de lis coffee set. This coffee set, marked Locronan xo, includes a pot, large sugar and small creamer, and two cups and saucers, all on a matching tray. All the pieces are also marked with a stylized ermine tail, one of the earliest markings denoting Quimper.
The set may have been made as a souvenir of Locronan, a small town not far from Quimper, Brittany.

All the handles have been painted with stripes, and the sugar pot is rather large - maybe owing to the great amount of sugar added to expresso?

I have a rather eclectic collection of other blue and white Quimper pieces that give me great joy to look at in the bright yellow dining room.

This shallow fan-shaped vase, called an eventail, is painted the same on front and back. It is marked HB Quimper with 4 dots in a diamond shape denoting the painter. It is great for short, spreading flower arrangements!

This pitcher, signed HB Quimper at the base of the handle, is much more casual in style. It has a wide stance and a stylized fleur de lis squarely in the front below the spout, as well as geometric patterns on the sides. The handle and spout are lined with a stipple pattern. The bottom is not finished and the red clay base is evident, indicating an early piece from the 1800's.

Many Quimper pieces are painted in multi-color patterns as well as blue on white. This large flat bowl painted with flowers is a good example.

I found a very unsual plate on eBay many years ago that I found out was part of a service for a restaurant. It is marked Henriot Quimper with double lines below the signature, identifying the painter.

The fun geometric pattern, with a multi-ringed and stippled border, is a good foil to many of my more eleaborate pieces and fits in well with my collection of geometric plates and pitchers.

Happy Blue Monday!

Melissa B


  1. Melissa! You just taught me something new. I had no idea that there was blue and white Quimper. I always thought Quimper was yellow or a creamy color with hints of blue, and other colors. These are some lovely pieces. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Happy Blue Monday...


    Sheila :-)

  2. Oh what gorgeous pieces! Thanks so much for sharing your lovely collection at Mosaic Monday. :)

  3. Lovely tea set! Such fine workmanship. Blue and white -good combination. very calming! Priceless find! Your mosaic turned out nice!

  4. You have a lovely collection and it's so nice to learn about it in addition to seeing it.
    Happy Twirls

  5. What a beautiful collection of quimper you have and there is such a lot to learn from you.
    Have a nice day

  6. Blue and white is such a fresh combination, I especially love the geometric tray...

  7. Lovely blues! And history to go with it.

  8. Melissa, you put me to shame! I'm showing a cheap blue and white piece today, and you display Quimper pieces! Quite wonderful! Happy Blue Monday.

  9. Melissa, I always think blue and white looks so fresh, an interesting post.

  10. Hi! Oh, what lovely dishes. I didn't know Quimper came in blue and white. Lovely lovely!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  11. Hi Melissa,
    What wonderful pieces of blue and white! I love anything with the fleur de lis on it. Thank you for sharing and for the info on it. Very interesting!


  12. The blues you've selected to share with us today are lovely. I'm especially fond of the tea service. I hope you are having a wonderful day.

  13. I try not to be envious of anyone or anything, but your beautiful Quimper is testing my resolve.
    Beautiful, just beautiful!

  14. Melissa, these are absolutely wonderful! I have a small group of the blue and white fleur de lys, but nothing to compare to the ones you show here. The tea set is so very special and the pitcher, fan vase, and plates have such wonderful details with that border. Now I'm going to be on the search for more blue and white to add to my group. Thanks for sharing. This is a delightful post! ~ Sarah

  15. What a beautiful collection you have! I love your header too. Gorgeous!


  16. Hello Melissa,

    What lovely blue and white Quimper! I especially like the beautiful blue and white fleur de lis coffee set. I am really going to have to find some B&W Quimper to add to my blue and white collection.

    Thank you for sharing your collection as well as the information about each piece.

    ~ Tracy

  17. I love all your collection so elegant. Blue is really a great color. Happy blue Monday!

  18. very pretty I love the blue and white

  19. What gorgeous dishes! I love the blue and white. I hadn't heard about Quimper before...but I searched and read about it. Thanks for sharing!

  20. You have such beautiful pieces! Lovely post!