This post is in collaboration with Amara who arranged and paid for the trip. Contains affiliate links.
I must admit I don’t take much notice of tableware. I admire it from afar and I share the latest trends on this page, but at home I tend to stick to white. It’s serviceable and I don’t need to think about matching, or even mixing and matching. Some of my tableware I’ve had since I first set up home, and that’s too long ago to admit to here! But I’m having a little change of heart. And that’s thanks to Amara who invited me on a trip to the Royal Doulton HQ recently, all the way up in Stoke on Trent.
Heritage and Innovation
I think we’re all aware that Royal Doulton has been around a long time. In fact since 1812, the same year as the Battle of Waterloo! The company started out in London manufacturing salt-glaze and stoneware ceramics, stone jars, bottles and flasks. By 1835 the firm was flourishing due to its diversification and role in the ‘sanitary revolution’ – pioneering the general use of stoneware drain pipes and water filters to improve living conditions. In 1860 the business diversified further, working with pupils from the neighbouring Lambeth School of Art which resulted in the employment of many of the school’s art graduates. The pieces they created at Doulton & Company were the polar opposite of the industrial pieces the firm had previously been known for. They were delicately modelled, brightly coloured, exquisitely decorated and won hearts all over the globe.
Coffee Studio and an antique jug
Not only were Royal Doulton into collaborations, they also appear to have been using influencers way back then. This is a quote I spotted in the museum.
“I do not know what to advise concerning the price of the green hooped flower pots. I think they will have a great run if not put too high. But they want a name – A name has a wonderful effect I assure you – Suppose you present the Duchess of Devonshire with a set and beg leave to call them Devonshire flowerpots.”
Royal Doulton Today
Royal Doulton is now a part of the Fiskars group along with Waterford Crystal and Wedgewood (the Fiskars group have been going even longer – a Finnish company established in 1649). And they are still collaborating with influencial designers. Most notable being chef Gordon Ramsey and Ellen DeGeneres. And 200 years after they were founded they are still reinventing themselves. Their design process is two years in the making and is a painstaking exercise developing shape, pattern, colours, and product collections. Most ranges evolve so that new products will work with existing collections and although they still make traditional wares, they have moved towards supplying customers with tableware that they need for today’s dining habits. Bowls of Plenty are new for 2019, as is Coffee Studio and 1815 Brights.
Bowls of Plenty
It was such a pleasure to enjoy coffee from the latest Pour Over Jug Set, speak to the team, visit the factory (absolute highlight was watching 18ct gold paint applied to teacups by a true artisan) and chat over a delicious lunch – all served on Royal Doulton.
Royal Doulton can be found on Amara Living.