Behind The Pattern: Diving deeper into Wonderlust’s Waterlily

The Wonderlust collection is inspired by our rich heritage and inspiring archive. Our talented in-house designers, at our home in Barlaston, take great joy in exploring the old pattern books, and breathing new life into classic patterns, motifs and elements.

We’ve happily explored the Wonderlust patterns before, and we welcome you to rediscover that creative and curious journey here: Wonderlust: Inspired by the Wedgwood Archive

But now, as we introduce new pieces to the Wedgwood story, we take a deeper dive into the history of the Waterlily pattern, along with the shapes and silhouettes that feature heavily in the Wonderlust collection.
An old plate with a Waterlily pattern

Waterlily: where it all began

The Waterlily pattern first appeared in Wedgwood’s timeline in the early 1800s. It appeared in various colors, printed in red on-glaze, to a blue-printed version with a cut reed border. 

The pattern is deeply inspired by horticulture, and with Josiah Wedgwood’s eldest son, John, founding the RHS, it’s thought that his creative mind might have inspired the larger-than-life waterlily blooms that feature so heavily in the archive.

The perfect wedding gift?

Did you know that the original pattern is sometimes known as "Darwin Water Lily"? It is believed that Susannah Darwin, Josiah's eldest child and the mother of Charles Darwin, was gifted the Waterlily pattern on her wedding day by her brothers.

The shape of history

Not only did our designers draw inspiration from the archive to create this eye-catching pattern, they also explored Wedgwood’s design history for shape. 

The new Waterlily teapot features a distinctive shape which has appeared along the Wedgwood journey in various forms. In the late 18th century, a teapot similar in shape with the recognizable spout, wide body and handle, was crafted in cane ware.
A Wedgwood archive teapot
Fast forward to the 1980s, the refined teapot shape designed by Susie Cooper, gave the final inspiration for the elegant shape you see in the Wonderlust Waterlily collection today.
A yellow teapot with a Waterlily pattern

From vases to teacups

The teacup shapes featuring in this collection are also iconic and quintessentially Wedgwood, with our designers taking inspiration from 1862 Tricolour Jasper vases, along with teacup shapes from the time. A similar shape also featured in the 1875 Victoria Vase.
Old Wedgwood prestige vases

Waterlily patterned teacup

Inspiration can be sparked from any of our heritage pieces, which is why our creative process is driven by a mix of modern design and the inspiring Wedgwood archive. Merging pattern and shape, conjured up by the creative minds of Wedgwood’s past, allows us to continue to innovate, developing timeless classics for your home to enjoy for years to come.
Gwyn, the designer behind the new Wonderlust patterns

About the designer

The patterns from the Wonderlust collection have been thoughtfully developed by our experienced in-house designer, Gwyn.

A designer at Wedgwood for ten years, Gwyn is passionate about illustrating the strong bond to our heritage in new and curious designs, by taking inspiration from modern design as well as the rich Wedgwood archive.