28 December 2009 – One of the highlights of the auction season for me is the HB-Henriot tent sale! There is a courtyard between the administrative building and the workshops, and a couple of times a year, HB-Henriot covers the courtyard with a tent and has a splendid sale. They sell the remaining pieces for decors that are being deleted from the production line; they sell pieces that have been lying around in the storerooms for a while, sometimes a long while; they sell pieces that were trial runs or models; they sell pieces painted by the painters in their own style – these are some of my favorites. It's a terrific opportunity to pick up some interesting pottery, often one-of-a-kind, always at very good prices.
The sale is run intelligently from a marketing point of view: it lasts a good week, and every day, more stock is put out. So the buyer can never be sure that s/he has seen everything, which necessitates a return trip at least once or twice. I like to go for the opening, return once during the week, and then make a final trip on the last day. You just never know what goodies are going to show up!
In times gone by, the painters were regularly given time to produce their own designs, some of which were commercialized but many of which were not. It is one explanation for those pieces that seem to have no explanation, and it is one of the most intriguing things about collecting Quimper pottery – you just never know what you might find. HB-Henriot has figured out a fun way to make it possible to find some of those pieces now rather than in another generation!