Archive for the Faience Category

Sarkozy to the Rescue

Posted in 17th century, Faience, Quimper pottery on March 10, 2010 by babylonbaroque

While reading Monday’s New York Times I came across an article concerning Quimper faience.  H.B.- Henriot, founded in 1690 by Jean Baptiste Bousquet, has had difficulty competing with cheap Chinese knock offs. Mr. Sarkozy and the French government have stepped up to the plate ( no pun intended) defending French pride, and jobs. Apparently this is part of a nationwide rescue package. Although my conservative soul generally shudders at bailouts ( rescuing purveyor’s of ugly ill designed vehicles strikes me as bad taste) I was pleased to know that Quimper faience would continue to be produced.

I must confess, I really don’t like the stuff. It reminds me of upper class woman with ill-defined taste romanticizing country life.

The “petite brettone” is almost iconically familiar.My coming across the article and it’s accompanying photos of really ghastly crockery made me hope, that in the three centuries of production, something interesting was created. I usually have great fondness for faience, I love how it puts on airs, the over grand forms , contrasted with clumsy leaden form and  bright energetic decoration.

A little side note, faience gained popularity after dear Louis XVI confiscated silver and gold plate from the aristos, faience stood in the place of costly Chinese porcelain.

With this desire to secure something other then country kitsch,I selected some sprightly examples that I enjoyed.  I will continue the search.

As I never tire of dragons, and St. Patrick’s Day is ever so close. I thought this Celtic inspired piece appropriate. The Bretons are of Celtic descent, expressing this heritage has been a staple of their designs.

Again, I never tire of dragons, the chubby-ness of the beasties contrasting with the conventional decoration charms me. I’m assuming early 20th century.

This clock, c. 1925, is probably more horror then charm, but it is striking. I think I like it. Or not.

I am fond of this three compartmented serving dish,  c.1885. It does seem, the older the piece, the better the design and the craft of the artisan.

My feelings about Quimper faience is that it COULD be really lovely and charming, unfortunately most isn’t.

Hopefully with the rescue cash, HB-Henriot’s will poke about their extensive archives and revive some treasures.

I pray they stop producing horrors like this little lovely.

Good night

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