You’re familiar with the thrill of finding the perfect keepsake while traveling, knowing that when you bring it home, it will always transport you back to the little shop or market where you unearthed it. But how do you capture the thrill of discovering global craftsmanship when you’re not out globetrotting?
Here’s one idea: Fill your home with objects that tell a story—hand-crafted items with a history that you can incorporate into your present...and make a part of your future. Choosing something beautiful that you’ll use often will only accelerate your attachment to it.
And here’s one surprising option: tableware. It’s not often you find an interesting backstory—and exceptional beauty—with tableware. But a combination of artisan craftsmanship and gorgeous design is exactly what you’ll get with an exciting collaboration between the fabled British pottery maker Burleigh and the iconic American designer Ralph Lauren.
This partnership—the Ralph Lauren x Burleigh Collection—is the first time in Burleigh’s 160-year history that the company has featured anyone else’s original patterns on their pieces. And these Ralph Lauren designs are not only stunning, but also perfect for travelers, as they were drawn from inspirations around the world. The result? A collection of plates, bowls, mugs, and serveware that you’ll be proud to use...and tell the story of.
The Careful Craftsmanship
That story begins in England, where Burleigh has been perfecting this craft for 160 years. Guided by finely honed sensory perception matched with the expertise of true artisans, everyone at Burleigh plays a distinct and essential role in shaping, crafting, decorating, and firing this pottery, which is cast from fine earthenware strengthened with china clay.
Burleigh pottery is unique for the way its pottery is decorated—through the preservation of under-glaze tissue transfer printing. This lost craft involves patterns being engraved onto copper rollers, mixed with hand-crafted colors, and pressed out onto tissue paper. A decorator then takes a length of this freshly printed paper—while still wet—and applies it to just the right place on each piece of pottery. This highly personal, hand-decorated craftsmanship ensures that no two pieces of Burleigh will look the same.
It’s an artisanship so special that none other than Prince Charles helped to preserve it. In 2011, his charity, the United Kingdom Historic Building Preservation Trust, bought Middleport Pottery, where Burleigh is made. The gesture not only recognized the cultural significance of Burleigh, but also created a heritage tourist attraction in the process.
The Inspired Designs
Burleigh’s unique process is a perfect match for the singular designs of Ralph Lauren. For this partnership between the two celebrated brands, Ralph Lauren created three distinct patterns featuring stars and florals reminiscent of vintage batik textiles. Each was concepted with Burleigh’s signature shapes and process in mind, bringing an American flair to the British craftsmanship.
Mix and match the three designs to create a cultivated, authentic aesthetic in your home. Then, for your next dinner party—or even just your next dinner— bring some global inspiration to the everyday and serve the meal on this gorgeous handmade tableware with a great story. It’s a melding of cultures that will remind you why you travel, why you collect, and what inspires you. It’s the art of experiencing the world, reflected on the artwork right in front of you.