Jennifer Morgan,-Interiors Editor


‘We wanted to create something extraordinary to mark such an important milestone in Spode’s history,’ explains Penny Swancott, designer for the much-loved tableware brand. And with a large and vibrant design archive, there was plenty of inspiration for the Spode and John Lewis & Partners teams to work with. ‘Our company’s founder, Josiah Spode, has left such an enviable legacy that it’s impossible to match up to. But this certainly keeps me on my toes, focuses my creativity and gets me motivated,’ says Penny.

The two teams spent a ‘very lovely day’ exploring the factory in Stoke-on Trent. ‘Heritage and craftsmanship had to be central to the collection, of course, but we agreed the design should be a reimagining of those taken from Spode’s archive,’ says Penny. There were three designs the teams kept coming back to – Zoological, Aesop’s Fable and Indian Sporting Scenes. ‘They were drawing us in again and again so we knew the design had to be inspired by them.’

Twelve months later and Zoological Gardens launched. Designed to be mixed and matched, the collection has everything you need for an afternoon tea, ‘including the most gorgeous three-tier cake stand, as well as mugs and cups and saucers,’ says Penny. ‘Spode is all about stealing the show – even at the smallest of gatherings, so it should be used and enjoyed whenever the chance arises.’ The colours are really exciting too, with pink and green alongside classic monochrome. ‘Who doesn’t love a green and pink combo?’ enthuses Penny. 

For Scott Bartle, Partner & Junior Buyer, Tabletop, what he loves most about the collaboration is the fact that Spode still manufactures its products in the UK. ‘From the shape to the decoration and even the packaging, every element of Zoological Gardens has been designed and made in the UK, something I feel really proud of,’ he says.

Contemporary colours meet heritage shapes and traditional patterns in our exclusive Zoological Gardens collaboration

Scott Bartle,-Partner & Junior Buyer, tabletop
Spotlight on Spode
Spotlight on Spode

Cup and saucer sets, £35 each; side plate, £15; large plate, £18; teapot, £95

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