Behind the Design: Golden Tulips

Behind the Design: Golden Tulips

This season we have created a beautiful spongeware design, Golden Tulips. Below, we share the story behind the pattern and its creative development. 

The idea for our Golden Tulips pattern came from the spectacular displays of tulips at Ham House in London and at Westbury Court Garden in Gloucestershire.  

Our design team went on to sketch a handful of different tulips, before focusing on two flamed varieties, studying both Princes Irene and Avignon Parrot to refine the sponge shapes and colour palette for the new pattern. Drawing on the sunset tones in each flower, with hot orange, pinks and yellows, the team worked to introduce a layered, gradient print into the petal design, and accented this with simple blue-green sponged stems.


After working up a pattern, our design team move onto styling it on a range of pottery shapes and testing how these would look in our Stoke on Trent factory. Several iterations of the design across all the shapes in the collection, pass through the factory before the decorators and design team land on their winners.

Our designers also look at how the spongeware pattern could be manipulated to create equally lovely and complimentary textiles. During this process, the team play with pattern scale, colour and how the print is reflected when transferred onto a variety of different fabrics and textures.



Tulips are most commonly found in meadows, steppes and chaparral, but also introduced in fields, orchards, roadsides and abandoned gardens. They emerge above ground as a shoot from the underground bulb in early spring, flowering around mid-April to May, before becoming dormant in the summer once the flowers and leaves die back. They thrive in climates with long, cool springs and dry summers.

The rise in popularity of these flamed varieties of tulips coincided with a period called the Dutch Golden Age where the demand, and thus prices, for these new, fashionable tulips lead to a craze called 'tulip mania'.

If you'd like more info on growing and looking after your own tulips we reccomend taking a look at Sarah Raven.