‘From the very beginning, I wanted to learn more about the history of British ceramics,’ says Richard Brendon, who established his tableware brand in 2013. ‘This naturally led me to Stoke-on-Trent, where all of our bone china is produced, but, once there, I realised how much the industry had shrunk. I wanted to help it recuperate.’
Brendon’s latest collection, ‘Dip’ (pictured, from £18), has taken him back to a time long before bone-china production. It’s inspired by creamware, a light-coloured earthenware developed in the mid-18th century. Brendon spent time at the V&A’s ceramic archives, ‘looking at really early examples of slip-decorated earthenware,’ he says. ‘Afterwards, I spent a couple of days in the Royal Stafford factory, experimenting with splattering and spraying pieces with glassy glazes. Eventually, I tried dipping – it looked good and worked well for industrialised batch production.’ The result is a collection comprising variously sized bowls and plates, a cup, a mug and a jug in three colourways.
Bringing heritage craftsmanship up to date for modern living is Brendon’s raison d’être. Consider his other ultra-contemporary lines produced in Stoke – the hypnotic ‘Superstripe’ (in collaboration with Patternity); ‘Details from Willow’ (white tableware dotted with tiny sections of the iconic late-1700s ‘Willow’ pattern); and collections for Fortnum & Mason, Corinthia Hotel and Blue Hill chef DanBarber.
‘If we don’t endeavour to preserve these industries, we’ll lose them for ever,’ Brendon asserts. ‘For me, it’s not just about protecting these age-old skills, but how we rejuvenate them for future generations.’ richardbrendon.com
This feature appeared in ELLE Decoration October 2019
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.