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!


  1. Every piece is a work of ART!
    Love this blog...
    I've always admired Quimper...
    xoxo~Kathy @
    Sweet Up-North Mornings...

  2. Cerelle - what an amazing menagerie you have! If they were grouped together they'd scare your visitors!!

  3. Cerélle, Oh my, indeed ... your mystery creature looks like a variation of the dolphin that often shows up as the base of a number decorative pieces - and is that a snail above his tail??

  4. These are truly fantastic....the variety and detail are amazing

  5. Loved your post Cerelle, you do have an amazing cast of characters!

  6. Cerelle, this is a fun post. I don't have any of these mystical creatures in my collection, but I've always thought they are fun pieces. You have quite a collection here. ~ Sarah

  7. Thank you all for commenting!
    Judy, that dolphin (buck-teethed, no less!) is balancing what I think is more of a conch shell and the final curls do look somewhat like a snail. He is the only one like this I have seen, and is big, too.