As we wait impatiently for the new brocante season to recommence, I thought it may be fun to look at what the French buy and collect. Between now and late spring, I’ll show you different examples of french collectibles, the things that I see the French buy on the antique and brocante fairs I go to here. Today we are starting in a colour scheme that is many peoples turn-to favourite: blue and white china.
Creil and Montereau were two rival porcelain manufacturers, both close to Paris. Each company started in the 18th century, and they joined forces in 1840. They perfected the art of the white glaze and blue transferware design, and won prizes for their work. The best of their production came to an end around 1895.
This is just one of their stamps, which changed slightly every couple of years, allowing experts today to date plates very precisely.
This pattern is called Flora, or sometimes Flora Liseron, and is one of their most popular and most easily recognisable designs.
These photos that I took on the opening day of a fair in Paris, are of a collection that came from one family. The pieces had been bought and enjoyed over three generations, and they were asking a pretty price for the 140 pieces, all in perfect condition. When I returned to the fair the next day, I noticed that the collection had gone, snapped up in an instant.
Of course you don’t have to buy a huge collection like this, I often see just one or two of the plates for sale, remnants of past glory. They look wonderful displayed on a shelf, or hanging on a wall.
I wonder what you like to collect? If I took you to a big fair, what would be at the top of your wish list – do tell me please, I’d love to know.
This is a beautiful set! How special to have so many pieces still together. For myself I prefer a more collected look. France has so many beautiful patterns and colors it is hard for me to limit myself. Thanks for sharing.
I collect blue and white China, fabrics and other home wares. These include blue & white teacups & saucers, b&w souvenir plates only of places I’ve visited, b&w nativity sets and plates, and other groupings.
So pretty. I really like the big serving plates, soup tureens, gravy boats, butter dishes, sugar bowls, milk jugs etc that were always put onto a properly set table. Brings back lots of childhood memories.
Oh, what don’t I like and collect (lol)! A few things are tole ware, tartanware, papier mâché, majolica, porcupine quill boxes, intaglios, bamboo furniture, etc. I would love to come to France with several empty suitcases and return home with them filled with lovely treasures!
Oh my goodness! Wouldn’t these serving dishes look divine in any setting? I love blue and white but this collection is to die for! Thank you for sharing with us.
I adore white on white monogrammed linens. Bought a lovely piece at Clignancourt and was given another piece by a Parisian friend in 2013. Now trying to decide the best way to display and/or use them. Ideas?
On your bed?! I sleep in old linens every day of the year, nothing beats them 🙂
Thanks, Sharon. These are smaller cloths (about 24″x24″.
We’ll be in Paris and Strasbourg for les marches noel for two weeks in December. Wonder what I’ll find that I can’t live without!
What a lovely thought for the morning. My weakness is definitely chairs, I am drawn to antique French chairs like a bee to a honeypot! Preferably Louis XV or Louis XVI style. I can already hear the resigned sigh of my husband, more chairs!!!
Hi Sharon…will you be going to Foire de chatou in Paris this year? I have never been but this year it coincides with our two weeks in Paris. It looks like brilliant fun !
Hi Barbara. Yes I’ll be going 2 or 3 times (it’s on for 10 days). Definitely worth a visit, one of the best fairs around Paris. Have fun!
I went last September with Sharon, and it was the BEST! Be sure to eat at the restaurant. Food was superb, waite staff not so much! Go a couple of days and eat the wonderful pig sandwiches……Oh how I wish this fair was in May when I will be in Paris…… Wonderful things to see and buy…..what a joy to experience.
Hi Sharon – My collecting passion is old French commercial perfume bottles from the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Ever run across any of these lovely pieces in your searches?
Fernware, antique calling card cases, tortoise dresser jars, transferware in certain patterns!
Good morning Sharon,
Oh boy! If I had an opportunity to go brocante shopping with you I would look for Sarreguemines majolica, a Lille copper enamel box, old copper and brass things and old silk brocade drapes. I would devour each and every booth or shop and indulge in anything old and interesting that catches my fancy!!! I am going to have a fun day dreaming about shopping with you in France! Thank you for the inspiration!
Hugs from Laura in Ontario Canada
I LOVE, LOVE these!!!
Do you ever see blue & white Aptware? Or any color Aptware? So hard to find!
These blue-white patterns remind me on my grandma in the ’50-s We had a great family assembly (I was a little girl) there was no dishwasher.She had to wash up all the plates .As she was finished she put them on a tablet to take them to the cupboard.The tablet slipped and all the about 20 plates broke. She was in ruins and me too because I loved the little forget-me-not flower pattern. I keep just a small sauciere of the set as a precious gift just to admire it sometimes. Love from the slightly spring plain in Hungary Dorka
the French Blue and White collections are definitely my favorites. However there are so few here in South Louisiana.
My Mom immigrated to the USA from The Netherlands. She collected true Delftware – mainly the blue & white – from Delft, Holland. I continue her collection.
I also love pillowcases that are hand embroidered & crochet or have an addition of fancy lace.
I LOVE blue and white, I had Blue Danube and not enough of it…..it has really gone up in price….I love blue and white asian things for the garden…just LOVE this post and your collection…..though I am beginning to get tired of “stuff”…..then again, I still love beautiful design and decorating….garden’s of bliss too…and my dream: Come to France…forever…find a small job there and never come back to the USA…hee hee
Wow! What an absolutely gorgeous collection!
What a pretty blue pattern! I will have to keep my eyes open for this whenever I go antiquing!
Sharon this pattern is so beautiful and unique from what we usually see. A large tureen or platter in this floral would be at the top of my list!
The Arts by Karena
I have a mis matched (which is what I prefer) of red transferware. Problem I have is how to weed out the reproductions from the real things. It’s beginning to look messy. And I also have quite a few pieces of Ironstone… which is also starting to overwhelm. I love your blog!
How gorgeous these collections are Sharon. I would collect soup tureens & larger platters like many above have suggested. I can see why they have gone up in value. There is something rather magical about the look of them.
I would die for a set like this! Definetly would be something I would collect!
Please explain to me what the word “brocante”means. It is not inn the dictionary.
I apologise, I use the word so often that I forget that not everyone is familiar with it. Brocante is a french word meaning antiques. I like to define brocante as relaxed antiques; the painted furniture with patina rather than the highly polished wood; repurposed objects and more of a shabby chic style
hope that helps
How lovely! Blue and white is a favorite of mine. I love to collect old teacups and saucers of various colors and unique styles. Enjoy the brocante, would love to join one day.
Sharon, you must have put this post together with me in mind 😉 Love the blue and white! What an amazing collection. No surprise it got snapped up so quickly. Thanks for telling us a little bit about Creil – I’ll be keeping my eye open for it at the flea market later this month. When I’m out hunting, I have a few things that I’m always on the look out for. Blue and white is on the top of the list, in all sorts of shapes, styles and forms. Café au lait bowls in red and white for the kitchen and vintage Hermés scarves, too. Looking forward to adding a few things to the collection soon – the memories they hold are the best part! XO
Beautiful post, Sharon! I collect blue and white to use in my still life paintings. I love vases, bowls, ginger jars, planters. I use them all.
I enjoy your posts so much, Sharon. I have collected utilitarian pottery from France over the years, and absolutely adore my confit pots. The original thought was that this type of pottery would not be expensive to acquire, but that’s not necessarily so any longer. My collection outgrew my home long ago, but I still can’t resist it when I find it for a reasonable price.
Just the photo makes me smile.. love that your lens is attracted to beauty. Thank you
Love the collection you’ve shown! I have a small collection of ironstone tureens, and not-so-small collections of wax seal stamps (the instrument used to impress the wax) and old match safes – some of which I’ve found at brocantes in France! And . . . well . . . just about anything French and old.
Love your post Blue and White dishes absolute my favorite. Was able to find in Paris a lovely set of blue and white toile dishes many years ago. I do collect many things among one of them are my small Chrystal salts not with the silver rims to much cleaning and no small spoons either I have 150 of them all on the top of my fireplace mantel I have found them all over Europe Canada and the U.S at fleamarket antique stores and fairs. I only buy the single ones. all together when the light or the sun shines on them it looks amazing a very inexpensive way to collect a momentum from my travels and easy to,pack. Easy to clean they go in the dishwasher on the top cutlery shelve voila Greeting from Vancouver Ellen
I am drawn to antique mirrors or at least mirrors I can antique.x
Oh Sharon I just love anything blue and white…..my absolute favourite! I hope you will be able to point us in the direction of some fairs and brocante shopping where I will be able to find some pieces like these, when we visit you in May. Feeling very excited!
The dishes are lovely, I would be after linens
I LOVE blue and white dishes and these are some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. Whenever I see blue and white dishes, my heart always races a bit. That color combination always makes me happy, whether linens, dishes or rooms….Beautiful, beautiful set…. Nancy (from TN)
Blue and white China is my favorite. I don’t have any valuable pieces but just the same, I love all that I have. Thanks for the lesson about this company. I have never seen this pattern before.
Please send me the link o f4 September – the blue and white porcelain.
I moved from Virginia (outside DC) and miss my china pantry so much! This is lovely!
I will be eighty November 1; when I worked, I had neither time nor money to collect anything. So, I am just discovering Limoges; Monet’s Creil et Montereau Japonisome Porcelan; vintage linens; and so much more.
Your posting showed a lovely pattern, and, of course, worthy of collection. Thank you.