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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