The story of ceramics has always been one of cultural cross-pollination. The blue and white porcelain that the Chinese had been producing for over a thousand years, had a profound impact on the tastes of Europeans when they were first imported. It was from those foundations that our collective mania for beautifully made decorative objects from which to eat and drink began to blossom, and also how the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent, in a corner of England called Staffordshire, eventually came to be collectively referred to as ‘The Potteries’.

Ralph Lauren Home x Burleigh's llaboration

From the 18th century onwards Stoke became a highly creative and competitive Petri dish for ceramic production, where the pioneering work of names like Josiah Wedgwood, Spode and Burleigh became globally famous for the beauty and quality of their work. The only pottery to survive this golden age with its original production methods intact was Burleigh, which was rescued by the Prince's Regeneration Trust (the Prince of Wales's conservation and preservation charity) in 2011. Now considered a British institution, it has unceasingly produced it’s famous patterned ceramics from it’s nineteenth-century grade II* listed buildings since 1851. And Stoke, a place initially chosen because of its proximity to clay, coal and water, now remains where it is because of the intergenerational skill of its craftspeople. Many of whom have long family lineages working in the potteries.

Ralph Lauren’s latest collection of tableware has been made in collaboration with storied English pottery company Burleigh. It’s the first time in its 160-year history that Burleigh has ever collaborated with a designer in this way, and the range is the perfect celebration of both contemporary American design and classic British craftsmanship. Burleigh is the last place in the world to employ the technique of tissue printing - a 200 year old method of transferring pattern from engraved copper rollers, to paper and then ceramics - every stage of which is carried out by hand, and which yields products no two of which are absolutely the same.

Ralph Lauren Home x Burleigh's llaboration

‘It dramatically changes the way the colours appear on the ceramics,’ says Alison Howell, the Design Development Manager at Burleigh. ‘Ralph Lauren drew inspiration from their archive for the collection. They came with a selection of prints, and were extremely appreciative of our process and the very special way it imbues ceramics with life.’

The collection is made up of three patterns; ‘Midnight Sky’, a field of stars inspired by the print on a Ralph Lauren bandana; and ‘Garden Vine’ and ‘Faded Peony’ both prints inspired by East Asian block-printed batik fabric from early Ralph Lauren toiles. Produced in a color palette of indigo, black, and white across a range of wares, including mugs, plates, and bowls, with patterns at different scales, the collection is designed to be mixed for an eclectic and personal look.

'The patterns clearly take inspiration from the great American style book, but are just like the best Burleigh designs, truly timeless,” says Burleigh’s company historian and retail manager, Jemma Baskeyfield adding, “These are the heirlooms of the future, combining the heritage of the past, that beg to be used in the homes of the present."

Buy the collection online and in store at Ralph Lauren, 1 New Bond St, Mayfair, London W1S 3LU, UK.

How to use it

All three patterns are complementary, and invite a personal curation to create an eclectic combination that is perfect for the way we entertain today. Created from fine earthenware strengthened with china clay, these pieces are designed to be well-used and well-loved.