Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Cartes Postale

Today we are celebrating Vintage Thingies Thursdays@ Coloradolady please stop by and link here with the other blogs participating there.

With the importance of tourism to Brittany in the late 19th century a series of popular postcards, or cartes postale, were created that celebrated the character of the cities and towns, fishing villages and religious sites. Here are examples of the town of Quimper and the neighboring seaside town of Concarneau.

Fortunately the Breton lifestyle and dress were recorded as much of the traditional dress was disappearing. The white embroidered hats on the women and girls are called "coiffes" and were a tradition of the region.

In the Quimper factories the process of creating the faience was also recorded, which allows us to study their methods, many of which are continued today.

The oldest manufacture of Quimper faience started on the Odet River at the end of the 17th century, in the area of Quimper called Locmaria. In 1771 the HB (la Hubaudiere) factory was established, but competition soon arrived with the establishment of what would become the Henriot factory and the Pourquier factory. All had their own distinct identities and marks, and decoration was limited to finger painting of very simple floral designs. In 1872 the painter Alfred Beau started painting scenes on the faience. It was in this period that the design of the Breton man and woman in their traditional dress was created.

The factories were able to survive different economic times by concentrating on creating domestically-used items such as salt tubs, platters, bowls, and pipes. Over time the factories were consolidated into one, which is still located in Locmaria, and distributes this beautiful faience around the world!

Different procedures were recorded, such as creating the molds or the making the forms:

Other factory workers are shown at other tasks involved with firing, glazing and preparing the molds for painting:

This scene looks like a painter showing us her skill at decorating.

I have been able to collect a number of these cartes postales, from the Collection Villard, as ephemera supporting my faience collection. They can still be found at antique shows and fairs as well as at online auction sites.

Happy collecting!

Melissa B


  1. Great pictures and history! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Now that's some history I can enjoy!!!

    (Being a science teacher, the "neighbor" history teacher and I banter back and forth about our two subjects.)

  3. Interesting Melissa, I also like the post cards.

  4. Very interesting. I like the idea of the "finger painting". I might be able to do that! Nice postcards.

  5. Melissa, another great post. I have a few of these vintage cards. It's fun to get a peek into the early life in Brittany. Glad you were successful in linking. Looks great! ~ Sarah

  6. The postcards showing the workers are fascinating.

  7. Oh wow. I got a collection of postcards at an estate sale - in a bound book labeled souviner cards I think. All from the britsh area i think. I totally have to look at them... there were over 70!

  8. Thanks for sharing the vintage cards and history.
    Living it up at Lakewood,

  9. What a wonderful collection of postcards! I especially like the one of the town of Quimper. I would love to know what that same part of town looks like today! I wonder if it is still so quaint looking, or if it is more modern. I hope not!
    Happy VTT!

  10. lots of history with these cards...really neat.

    Have a great weekend and a wonderful VTT!

  11. What a great set of postcards! And I love your blog header, the colors of the pieces are so pretty.

  12. A great collection of postcards. They must really add to your collection.

  13. Oh wow! I love your postcards! What a special collection. I'm just getting around to visiting the VTT blogs. It's always so fun to see what everyone is showing.


  14. Thanks for showing these, what an incredible time in history!

  15. I saw your comment on my blog and I haven't looked at them yet but Im going to today...the thing about them is I bought them in this bound book and its so old I have been trying not to mess too much with it... And taking the cards out, putting them back in all the time stresses the book. And really part of the problem is I don't even know what I'm looking for/at...

    I bought them on the last day of an estate sale because I was afraid no one would - you know what I mean? What if they ended up in the trash?



  16. I'm thinking, no on the cards. There are a lot of sites, and some coastal - many old. But none of them look like this to me.

  17. Very cool, Melissa, to introduce our visitors to the process of faience making by the use of the historic post cards. I thought your presentation was just excellent.

  18. A very nice collection of cartes postale!