Quimper Faïence From Breton

Apr 28, 2015 by

Quimper faïence from Brittany is a popular hand glazed pottery that is uniquely Breton. 

  Quimperware, as this lovely, tin-glazed pottery is known, is highly collectible, especially the older and unique pieces. 

Quimper faïence

Vintage 19th century Quimper faïence binioù (bagpipe) wallpockets from Brittany, France–fabulous!! Image from ebay via Pinterest

Brittany, a former duchy, is known as Breizh in the native language, and has a rich Celtic heritage. 

Music is “E Garnison” by Denez Prigent, a Breton singer from Santec, in the Finistère (Breton: Penn ar Bed) region of Brittany, singing in the gwerz and kan ha diskan Breton styles. Click HERE to see the English and Breizh lyrics to this song about a wandering lady and amiable miller.

Quimper ( pronounced “kem-pair”) is the capital of the Finistère department of Brittany in northwestern France. It is also the ancient capital of Cornouaille, Brittany’s most traditional region that was settled by princes from Cornwall fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasions of 430–1084 AD.

Quimper faïence

Quimper faïence for sale in Brittany. Image by Julle Kurtesz

The town’s best known product is Quimper faïence pottery. It has been made here since 1690, and is highly collectible.

Faience or faïence (in French) is the conventional name in English for fine tin-glazed pottery on a delicate pale buff earthenware body. Quimper faience is still hand painted, often depicting men or women in native Breton costume. I’ve even seen a Quimper piece featuring a dragon!

Quimper faïence dragon plate

Quimper faïence featuring a dragon, perhaps heralding the Breizh connection to Wales. Image from countryfrenchpottery.com via Pinterest.

Still looking for one of those dragon plates on ebay….

Here’s a brief video showing some of the decorative styles of Quimper faïence:

For more information about Quimper faïence and its history, I recommend the following sites:

OldQuimper.comwebsite written by Quimper faïence experts who also sometimes have vintage pieces for sale.

Quimper Faience Pottery by antiques expert Pamela Wiggins

Quimperfrenchpottery.com

Henriot-Quimper.com –a good site for collectors to see examples of the various Quimper faïence marks

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Vannes, Brittany’s Royal Seaside City

Mar 28, 2014 by

Brittany, or Breizh as it is known in its native language, is the beautiful Celtic region of France, rich in history and a unique cultural legacy.  One of the most visited cities in Brittany is the seaside town of Vannes.   Founded over 2000 years ago, Vannes is situated on the Gulf of Morbihan–mor bihan means “little sea” in Breton– at the mouth of two rivers, the Marle and the Vincin, in Brittany.  It is a thriving market and tourist town, one of the busiest in southern Brittany.

Vannes takes its name from the Veneti, a seafaring Celtic people who lived in the region before the Roman invasions in the 1st century BCE.  Julius Caesar’s naval fleet attacked the Veneti in 56 BC at the nearby town of Locmariaquer; all the Veneti were either slaughtered or sold into slavery.   The Romans named the area (which was the chief town of the Veneti) Darioritum;  after the fall of the Roman empire in the 5th century , the town was renamed Venetis, then called Vennes for a long period ( pronounced “jwened” and spelt “Gwened” in Breton), before finally settling on its current appellation, Vannes. 

 

 

 

 

 

Vannes was the preferred residence of the Dukes of Brittany during the Middle Ages and became the Prefecture (County town) of Morbihan in 1791.   The Chateau de l’Hermine, also known as the Hotel Lagorce, was built in 1785 on the ruins of the original 14th century Chateau built by Duke John V, or Yann V in Breton, which formed part of the city walls of Vannes.    The original fortress was the seat of the Dukes of Brittany, and the present building is now a cultural museum.

 

Vannes is the birthplace of Claude-Michel Schönberg, actor, singer, songwriter, and musical theater composer, who created the idea and wrote the music for the Tony award-winning musical, Les Misérables, a huge international success, as well as The Pirate Queen, a musical about the life of Grace O’Malley, the Irish pirate, which was a huge box office flop.

 

 

To learn more about Vannes and the lovely Celtic land of Brittany, try any of the following sources:

Discovering Vannes

Morbihan Guide

Mairie de Vannes (Facebook)

TripAdvisor: Vannes

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Merry Christmas From Celtic Brittany

Dec 24, 2013 by

Merry Christmas From Brittany

Merry Christmas From Brittany

Nedeleg Laouen na Bloavezh Mat = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in Breton
Ne-dee-leg low-wen nah blow-ves mat = Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

To hear the Breton pronunciation of Merry Christmas,  click HERE

To hear the Breton pronunciation of Happy New Year, click HERE

 

Here’s are a few beautiful Breton Carols:

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Top 5 Celtic Food Gifts Under $25

Dec 4, 2013 by

  • Top 5 Celtic Food Gifts Under $25

  • Looking for a Celtic food stocking stuffer or gift under $25? 

Click the blue links to find treats to satisfy any Celtic gourmand, without putting a dent in your holiday budget

 

1.  Scottish smoked salmon  St. James Scottish Reserve Gravelox- Unsliced Seasoned Smoked Salmon, Cured with Brandy, Fresh Chopped Dill, Salt & Sugar–smoked salmon with capers, cream cheese and cucumber slices are a New Year’s Eve tradition at our home–simple dee-vine!
2.  Irish Breakfast tea  Bewley’s Irish Breakfast Tea in decorative tin,  30 loose tea bags, no tags or strings.   Bewley’s is an old Irish company that has won numerous awards for its wonderful tea blends.  Their Breakfast Tea  is a deep golden brew that is a long-time favorite of mine.
3. Welsh Sea Salt Jar     Halen Môn Mon Pure Welsh Silver Finishing Sea Salt from Isle of Anglesey, Wales White, crunchy flaky crystals add an extra something to almost any food. Described by Henry Harris (former Head Chef at Harvey Nichols’ Fifth Floor Restaurant) as ‘…tasting of the cleanest oceans’, Halen Môn is a Soil Association Certified Product.
4. Cornish Gingerbread  Furniss Cornish gingerbreads in traditional old tube. These cookies are made to an original recipe from the company’s founder, John Cooper Furniss, dating back to 1886.   Crunchy, spicy and very, very tasty, it’s a gingerholic’s dream.
5.Breton Crepes  Gavottes Crispy Lace Crepes From France covered in Milk Chocolate–delicate, thin Breton lace crepes by Loc Maria are a fine crispy biscuit that has been made following a French traditional recipe handed down since 1920.  These crepes are covered in a fine layer of gourmet milk chocolate.They are perfect with coffee or tea.

5 Foods For Celts

5 Foods For Celts

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May 8, 2013 by

Breizh

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Apr 15, 2013 by

A group of bigoudènes wearing the distinctive Bigouden headdress.

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Mar 22, 2013 by

Saint-Malo ,Breton: Sant-Maloù) is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. Saint-Malo had a tradition of asserting its autonomy in dealings with the French authorities and even with the local Breton authorities. From 1490–1493, Saint-Malo declared itself to be an independent republic, taking the motto “not French, not Breton, but Malouins”.

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