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Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's a Camïeu Blue Monday

Hanging French Shelf with Camïeu Blue Quimper Pottery

With the exception of a small blue willow tea set, which you can read about here, we don't have the typical collection one thinks of for blue and white pottery. Ours is not Chinese, nor is it Delft or English. What we do have is a small group of French faïence done in the camaïeu blue technique.

Unmarked Quimper Secouette or Snuff Bottle

It's once again time for Blue Monday with Smiling Sally so a perfect opportunity to share a group of French faïence done in the camaïeu technique. Camaïeu is a technique where by an object is decorated in varying shades of one color. In this case blue. Pieces are often outlined or shaded in a darker shade and then accented with lighter shades of the same color family.

HB Quimper Doughnut Shaped Teapot with Missing Lid

Though beautiful examples of entire scenes painted in camïeue blue were produced, we unfortunately don't have any in our personal collection. Our pieces painted in this technique are in the fleur de lys decor, of which this doughnut shaped tea pot is a classic example. You can see the outline done in the darkest color and then the use of two lighter shades of blue. All this done on a white glaze blackground.

HB Quimper Porte Bouquet on Rectangular Base

HR Quimper Tri-Lobed Footed Saucer with Three Small Feet on the Base

Most of our pieces in this decor were produced by HB Quimper. The above saucer is of HR Quimper production. One can see that the decor varies little between these two faïenceries.

HB Quimper Secouette (Front on Left, Reverse on on Right)

This little secouette or snuff bottle was quite a find. Often these small pieces were not marked, but this one bears the mark of HB Quimper on the reverse seen with the ermine tail. It also retains the original cork with wire pull. It is rare to find a secouette with its original cork in place. I've not attempted to remove the cork because of fear it would pull apart, but I can shake the secouette and hear that it indeed has something inside. I suspect it is extremely aged snuff.

Pair of HB Quimper Shell Shaped Dishes
with HB Quimper Heart Shaped Secouette

In Brittany one is never far from the sea, so these little scalloped shell dishes are the perfect shape to reflect a life tied to the sea. The pair shown on either side of the secouette are very delicate in feel, and they are very small in size as you can see compared to the small secouette. They are less than 3.5" x 4.5".

Reverse of HB Quimper Shell Shaped Dish with Mark

The reverse side is also interesting. These little dishes sit on a rimmed base, and the mark includes a G, which I suspect is an artist signature.

HB Porte Carte

This little porte carte was made to hold a small card, perhaps to mark one's place at the table or to hold a small menu card. I have to confess that I've a passion for both porte carte forms and those of secouettes. I like the textural feel of holding these little treasures of the past in the palm of my hand. I'm particularly pleased we have this one because it is done in camïeue blue, and it is the only example in our group of camïeue blue that features a figure.

Reverse of HB Porte Carte

The reverse does feature the fleur de lys, but the feel is very different from the typical fleur de lys pattern shown in the above photos.

Unmarked Perfume Faïence Flask

This last piece doesn't qualify as a camïeue piece, but I have it displayed with the group because it seems to fit in. This is a perfume bottle, much the size and style of a secouette.

Reverse Side of Perfume Flask

You can see from the wording on this side that this was made for Guy Parfumeur. Coeur de Bretagne indicates the heart of Brittany, but perhaps this is simply a reference to this piece being a souvenir of Brittany. I've had no success tracking down any information on this parfumeur. The piece is unmarked other than the references on this side. If anyone has any ideas or knowledge of this piece, please share.

If you enjoyed my contribution to Blue Monday, please leave a comment below to let me know you stopped by for a visit.

Then click here to go over to the QCI blog where Cerelle has been sharing an ongoing story of her youth spent in France. Today's Blue Monday post features pieces in her collection that were produced with this camïeue technique.

Then click here to go to Smiling Sally's for a list of other Blue Monday posts.


  1. Exquisite! Oh my, I have found something else to be crazy over! If I ever come across such things I will probably faint. Thank you, teacher, that I learned something new today :)

  2. These pieces are beautiful! I don't know anything at all about them. But they're beautiful!

  3. Sarah, I loved seeing thee beauties and learning all about them. You are always teaching me something and showing me beautiful treasures. I have so many favorites in this group. I love that Porte Bouquet on a base. I've never seen anything like that. And of course, the Porte Carte with the figure is also a favorite of mine. I always find the figures so charming. laurie

  4. What a surprise..I love your blog, Sarah..and I really appreciate all the work that it takes. Love your blue Monday. My Monday for the Quimper Club blog just happened to land on Monday which worked out so well. Love your collection of "Little Treasures!"

  5. Not only are the colors so rich and beautiful, but the interesting shapes and designs are amazing!

  6. Okay, Sarah! I am officially fascinated. I could be hooked on this easily. Thanks so much for sharing! I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite, but I might have to pick the little clock face.

    Happy Blue monday...


    Sheila :-)

  7. What an awesome collection you have. I am not familiar with that pottery, but it is simply beautiful.

  8. What a wonderful collection you have absolutely beautiful!! I love the Fleur D lys (spelling??) Have a wonderful week and Happy Blue Monday! Sherri : )

  9. great collection!

    I would like to share our Mellow weekend

  10. Good morning Sarah
    How Serendipitous that you and Cerelle are blogging about blue & white faience today.
    We couldn't have planned it better if we had tried.
    Looking forward to chatting with you later this week.

  11. my favorite is the base!

    To start the week, I am sharing our walk in the park last weekend.

  12. Lovely blue treasures! Thanks for sharing and enjoy your BLUE MONDAY!

  13. What a wonderful collection you have! It is so different! I've enjoyed looking at your blog, and look forward to visiting you again.

  14. What lovely blues for today! Lovely pieces.

  15. Oh now, Sarah, this is an amazing collection! Each item is more wonderful than the next. Happy Blue Monday to you!

  16. Always enjoy your posts Sarah, the blue and white is so refreshing.

  17. These are just beautiful! I've heard of them before but haven't seen this large of a collection! I know you are very proud of all your pieces...Thanks for sharing!

  18. Ms. Sara, you have gorgeous collection, looks very rare to me. Happy Blue Monday!

  19. Hello Sarah,

    What a fabulous collection! I too would be afraid to pull the cork from the secouette for fear of damaging it. Thank you for not only sharing your collection with us but also your knowledge of the pieces in your collection.

    ~ Tracy

  20. Sarah, what a wonderful collection. I'm sure you treasure it. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Have a wonderful Blue Monday.

  21. Awww i love that donut shaped tea pot :) great photos! thanks for sharing :)

    u may view mine if u have time

  22. Very beautiful! I've never seen any quite like these! Really like the snuff piece! ~Rhonda :)

  23. Hi Sarah...what a beautiful collection! I love blue and white so I'm naturally drawn to pieces like this. The fleur de lys design just makes them all the prettier! Happy Blue Monday! :-)

  24. Hi Sarah
    I love your pottery. You have so many patterns I've never seem before! Thanks for your sweet comments today.
    Hugs, Rhondi

  25. Hi Sarah
    I love your pottery. You have so many patterns I've never seem before! Thanks for your sweet comments today.
    Hugs, Rhondi

  26. Hello Sarah! This is such a wonderful collection. I really like it. Happy blue to you...

  27. Your porcelin is exquisite....I love that first picture!!

  28. I love collecting dishes and I could easily be talked into collecting these! Just beautiful!


  29. Sarah, your collection is stunning.
    How long have you been collecting?


  30. What a beautiful collection! All the designs are so unique. Thanks for sharing.



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