Monday, 30 August 2010

Free As A Cerélle B

We're linking this post to Three or More Tuesday hosted by Tam @ The Gypsy's Corner, do visit Tam's great blog to see who else is gathered there for show and tell this week.

Free As A Bird....

Or As A Bird Should Be..

It is very uncomfortable for me to see birds in cages. A bird, by its very nature should be free, and though all do not retain the ability to fly, it is by description the very personification of a bird. And so, while I will not have caged birds, I love to provide food and habitat for them in my garden. In other words, they are invited and they DO come.

In Arizona, we have resident birds, Gambel Quail, the Cactus Wren (our state bird), roadrunners (of cartoon fame), and many other less famous but equally personable ones, the thrasher, the towhee, Gila woodpeckers, flickers, our feisty and musical mockingbirds, and among the many others, a special favorite..the tiny jewels - hummingbirds.

This stained glass wreath is one I designed...leaning on Della Robbia inspiration, and Bill crafted for us. This is our beloved Gambel Quail..rather than a Partridge.

There are also many migratory birds who spend part of the year here, or pass through on their way to places elsewhere. This way, we have the joys of Canada Geese, mallard ducks, orioles - who are native but come down from the mountains when it is cold, robins, and I have even seen a flock of snow geese flying over.
Here in our own yard, we have many of those flying aces, the jeweled hummingbirds. At certain times of the year, when the migratory ones join our permanent residents, there is a real competition for those four feeders.

I suppose it isn't surprising that I am always attracted to the faïence birds and have added quite a few to my collection. I do wish that I would find a hummingbird..but that seems not to exist...or at least I have not yet seen one!
Here are a few of my tiny ones..the chouette (small owl) is Malicorne, the paon (peacock) is from Tessier at Malicorne, and the duck basket is Geo Martel of Desvres.

This little bird-on-the-nest box is a real charmer..and is likely Desvres.

Also from Desvres, is this long legged bird by a stump which was made to hold a ring. I love his colors..and the way he has his eye on that little green caterpillar!

Then there are the bird plates...LOTS of Bird plates! I find it hard to resist them..and have more than I have room to hang. They sit on stands on a rotating basis. Many of the birds, I am unable to identify, likely as there are different bird species in Europe...must get a book.

These three are Quimper and I am just crazy about the cake platter with a bird and her nest..and the wonderful colors, especially those peaches, or perhaps apples..but I prefer peaches!

This charger is also from Quimper..and again I am unable to identify the bird, but he has character. I have MANY more..but this blog is only so long.

As with other items I collect, I search for faïence..but find other related things which I add too. This magpie just called my name. He is unmarked, and a soft ceramic not unlike faïence, but I don't know his origin...and only later discovered that he is a nice imitator of the ones by Meissen in 1730. Perhaps mine is Staffordshire.

At our meeting in La Baule, I bought this crazy owl..8.5 in (21 cm) tall, with a coiled snake on his head to hold a candle...imagine! He is done in soft colors, and I especially like the manganese lavenders. He was done by Geo Martel of Desvres.

Then have you ever noticed the
border on my Philippe Lalys platter
with the courting couple and the swan? It is all oak leaves and acorns and delightful little birds. I am not the ONLY bird lover!

He has done quite a few bird plates and I have one of a soft brown bird with a bunch of the cherries he is seeking.

Then, of course there is the big platter he did as a reprise of one by Porquier...
The songbird of many colors and the splendid, almost too good to be true, Golden Pheasant! (shown in a close view at the top of the blog)...

See you soon..Cerélle

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Another day, another Antiques Fair by Louise R.

At short notice (the night before!) we decided to go to a new antiques fair taking place in Newbury, in Berkshire.
Run by the same people as the big fairs at Ardingly and Newark this one is smaller, situated at the racecourse with lovely views across country.
Most of the stalls are outside and somehow seem more interesting, more piles of stuff to rummage happily through rather than the immaculately displayed indoor ones. The prices seem more interesting too!
Not the best fair I've ever been to, but with many familiar faces among the dealers and reasonable prices, a pleasant day out.

I really didn't expect to find much but to my surprise came across, first, an old Nevers pichet (with a chip on the rim) marked AM.

Then, an old Malicorne pichet, undamaged but unmarked, along with a 20's Henriot coffee bowl (yet another one!)

Good prices so couldn't resist them!

Lovely weather yet again, it’s been a good summer, but we do need some rain.

Monday, 23 August 2010

I Never Saw a Purple Cerelle B

I Never Saw a Purple Cow, I Never Hope to See One..
But if She Were a Faïence Cow, I Would Think I Need One!

 I don't know what it is about cows that appeals to me so.
I have never lived on a farm. I have had no experience of "knowing a cow" .
But the sight of them grazing brings a feeling of quiet peace, and somehow a painting of this scene does the same.

And so, I have collected cows, and even one bull...but then, you wouldn't want the ladies to be lonely!
Pijnacker style using the Imari color palette.

Probably the favorite of all of my cows is this softly painted, doe-eyed 'Bossy' carrying a load of cups for the drink which she supposedly dispenses. I am guessing she was made in Desvres, though her only marking is a banner with "La Bourboule" spread on the grass under her feet. This would place her as a souvenir from a visit to that town in the Auvergne.

If she were labeled Desvres, I would have expected her to hold Calvados, that most wicked of applejack brandies which burns the "Normandy hole" upon drinking, but I do not know what they drink in the Auvergne. Knowing they grow apples, it may be a similar distillation, but as I read more about pommes de terre, it may not be made of apples but of potatoes.
Nevertheless, she is just so sweet, and I find it totally amusing to see a metal spigot next to her natural ones!

And finally, a whimsy...
This is a cow advertising for Montreal Casein Co. Ltd and she is ablaze with poppies and wheat and other field flowers..and surely has a French look to her.

She is not faïence, nor is she French..but I simply couldn't resist! I just KNOW what I like, and I like cows!

The real reason I got him is that he was just so beautifully modeled by Professor Max Heilmaier of the Paul Mueller Company in Selb, Bavaria.
So he is not exactly faïence and he is not French, but he is just so fine!

I have Delft plates from de Porceleyne Fles, and one of them features a scene of cows grazing, The detail from that plate is above.

Here is my treasured tableau by Michel Bouquet which is painted on a large faïence plaque and framed like a painting. This again has the peaceful scene of cows grazing.

There are the little critters, too.
This charmer is a cow with a young boy, and this was found at our members sale at one of our meetings. I believe it to be from Desvres, and in the Delft style.

Here is my rather big Delft blue and white floral painted cow from de Porceleyne Fles which Bill discovered for me, and a small calf from there which is painted in the

Friday, 20 August 2010

Stroll along the seashore with Sandra B.

Most of France remains on vacation for the duration of the month of August. It usually entails a mass exodus to the shores along the coastline. Of course Brittany receives a huge influx of vacationing visitors. Wouldn’t it be a welcome respite to join them....even momentarily?
So let’s use our imagination and step into the shoreline scene depicted on the large HB Quimper platter shown below.

Let’s stroll along the seashore together with the Breton sailors and feel the warm sand between our toes. The tidal waters of the bay lap against the shore and leave treasures for us to examine and explore. As we do so, we notice some seashells which have washed up along the beach. Could they be actually made of faience?
Of course! We are on an imaginary tour and as faience collectors, what else could they be made of, if not French pottery?

Along the tide line amidst the seaweed we first stoop to pick up a little nautilus shell.. It is spotted, speckled and sponged with the colors of the ocean. What an interesting form indeed. It is rare to find this Porquier species of seashell laying in the sand.

Walking along a little farther, we come upon a perfectly formed scallop shell. It is of the HR variety and seems to have a “pearl” peeking out from its’ opening. What a charming find!

As we wander along the shore, another HR shell captures our attention. We bend over inquisitively and pick up a periwinkle. Now this is a real rarity. A delight and a true treasure.... escargot for lunch anyone?

Next we notice a movement in the sand just up ahead. It draws our attention to a crab crawling into a Jules Verlingue shell. Surely the little crab is inquisitive and wishes to explore the depths of this Boulogne-sur-Mer marvel.

A larger shell draws us farther along the shore. This is a another lovely surprise as it is an unsigned AP wall piece designed perhaps to hold pipes or even toothbrushes! It has washed ashore from Neptune’s bounty and landed right here for us to see. Many ship wrecks dot the Atlantic coastline and hence a panoply of interesting items can wash up along the beach.

Perhaps from the same doomed ship, we next see a door push plate with double seashells at the top and bottom. This must have been from a cabin door of a cruise ship, as it is so elegantly painted by HR Quimper.

The sun is beginning to set, as we head back home. Yet, as we turn to leave, we spy two black glazed plates by the artist, Guy Trevoux.
Would that we could find more of this dinner set embodying the treasures of the Breton shoreline.

It has been a wonderful afternoon’s stroll along a beach in Brittany. Now it’s time to return “chez nous”.
What seashell treasures can be found in your collection?

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Lions and Dragons and Gargoyles...Oh MY! by Cerelle B.

Lions and Dragons and Gargoyles...Oh MY!
Doesn't have quite the right ring to it, does it?

Still, collectors seem quite taken with the mythological, fanciful, and bizarre. And the creative minds of the faïence makers have come up with plenty of unusual creatures.

Lions - Yes!
There are some wondrous ones not yet in my collection, but I do have one ferocious fellow that I like. He is guarding a shield, and seems to have some importance as well as fair size, standing 23 cm ( 9 + in) to the tip of his head. Sadly, he is not marked, but is enjoyed all the same.

Dragons -
Oh yes! We find them with glass eyes and curled tails supporting cups for candles.

Sometimes just their heads are used as figureheads on the 'prows' of jardinieres.

We find salamanders sometimes masquerading as dragons, or dragons hiding as salamanders.

I have an imposing Malicorne vase with a finely painted, almost Renaissance pattern in the background, and then most incongruously, this snappy little dragon is wrapped around it and looking quite ready to bite!

And Gargoyles?
Of course! There is a famous one
from the tower of Notre Dame Cathedral who is posed with his head in his hands and which has been immortalized by Alcide Chaumiel under his CA monogram.

Then, dare I say it? There are snakes...serpents if you prefer. They curl around as handles on the lids of soupieres and on serving dishes.
Brave is the lady who takes hold of that snake's handle to offer the hors d'oeuvres!

Our faïence makers must have some wicked ideas of humor, and then there may also be legends and cultural backgrounds to these choices too. Whatever the reasons, just when you think you have seen it all, along comes a marvelous little mystery creature!