Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Yvon Roy, Ceramicist ... judy

About 15 years ago, I bought this plate in a flea market because I liked the pattern (we know I like birds!), the colors (there is flash reflection in this photo, but that brilliant blue is the real color), and the thumbprint edge on the plate. I had no idea who Yvon Roy was.

Then I found some Quimper-style pieces:

And one day when I was in the shop, a young man came in. He was a sales rep for the Faïencerie de Montgolfier, which is in the Sarthe (near Le Mans). He had some interesting things to show me, and I looked at his literature about the history of the manufacture – lo and behold!, it was founded by Yvon Roy. And the young man in front of me was Roy's grandson – the business was still in the family.

In 2001, Stéphane Deschang's book about Malicorne pottery was published, and there was Yvon Roy's signature as one of the Tessier manufacture marks ... had I know then what I know about Malicorne now, I might have figured that out – these plates are very much Tessier style.

Like many (if not most) pottery manufactures in the northern half of France,  Roy took advantage of the market for pottery with Breton figures.

The sabot form was used as a bank, as a triple vase (I have to say that this might be one of the least attractive pieces ever made), and a double salt. Roy's signature also evolved – that's a very stylized ermine tail instead of a Y.

And these two bowls have motifs from the embroidery designs of Pont L'Abbé - a long way from the Sarthe ...

Roy did a series of designs influenced by Moroccan patterns (as did Quimper from time to time). The shape of the little covered pot is charming, with its pleated handles.

And Yvon Roy developed a technique for which the Faïencerie de Montgolfier became well-known. He put a layer of color on his piece and then engraved it to bring up the pattern in the undercolor (usually white).

So he painted the blue and then used an engraving tool to engrave the design (which by the way is a triskell, another symbol associated with Brittany), which is defined as white. You can actually see the engraving in the color layer.

This covered serving dish, engraved on yellow, reminds me of Keraluc – look at those very modern-looking handles!

And this is my favorite piece of all – the pitcher is engraved with a fish and a boat ...

Yvon Roy died in the late 1950s, at about the same period as Paul Fouillen and Victor Lucas – a generation of ceramicist-entrepreneurs ended sort of all at once. But genetics will out ... the young man who sold me pieces of his grandfather's designs today has his own manufacture in Quimper: Céramiques de Cornouaille.


  1. Such fun to keep learning Judy. I've heard the name, have seen some of the pieces, but this is most enlightening.

  2. Judy, thanks for sharing these works and the information about Yvon Roy. I like the pieces done with the engraved technique and the hand formed details in the thumb print edges and the ruffled handles. Nice post! ~ Sarah

  3. Just found your article from a search engine and am very happy to find out some information about Yvon Roy - Thanks.
    I have a beautiful plate originally owned by my parents which has adorned the wall of our home for years.
    The plate also has particular significance for me since my surname through marriage became Roy (no relation - more Scottish than French!)