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.