Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. Let’s continue the journey of Wedgwood and the celebration of the most British of pastimes, drinking tea. In part one of our Ultimate Tea Experience story we explored Wedgwood’s royal links to teaware, the incredible artistry found in our pattern archives (that still inspire and influence many of our modern designs today) and the importance of the materials used to create the designs we drink from. But when it comes to the ultimate tea experience, we need to explore another one of our extraordinary collections to understand how a simple afternoon tea break can fundamentally change how we feel.
THE ULTIMATE TEA EXPERIENCE PART 2: CUCKOO COLLECTION THE JOURNEY OF WEDGWOOD TEAWARE
A cup of tea solves everythingIn this digital age with all its distractions, life often feels so busy that always being connected to technology can sometimes mean we feel less connected to ourselves. Afternoon tea was first taken in the 1700s as a little break in the afternoon to enjoy tea with cakes, scones and even cheese on toast by working men, often taken standing up or sitting on tall stools which inspired the name ‘high tea’. The idea of afternoon tea developed into a social event and the afternoon meal became an occasion to be enjoyed together with friends.
We believe that this great British tradition is still relevant in our lives today, it’s an opportunity to take time out of your day, to ditch the distractions and enjoy a moment alone or connect with friends. Spending time being present and enjoying the little moments is what life is all about and this is why we continue to design pieces that will create special moments in your life every day.
Inspiration behind the Cuckoo collection
The Cuckoo pattern was first launched in various colourways and variations in 1814 when oriental designs were being introduced in Wedgwood’s factory due to an abundance of chinoiserie and oriental influences appearing in architecture and interior design. At a time when all-over designs comprising of flowers and insects were becoming popular for tableware and teaware, the Cuckoo pattern featuring blooming Chinese flowers and charming cuckoo birds shown against pastel backgrounds was launched.
Although the pattern has been present in the Wedgwood archive for centuries and admired for its whimsical design and vibrant gold accents for over 200 years, the name has changed many times over the years. In 1973 the pattern was a part of the Williamsburg collection made for Colonial Williamsburg in America and shortly afterwards it was renamed Cuckoo, this playful collection has continued to be at the centre of extraordinary tea experiences across the globe ever since.