Blackwell, a love of the Lakes
The Blackwell series
This particular design is named after the beautiful National Trust property that hugs the hillside to the south-east of Lake Windermere in Cumbria. Blackwell House, built in 1901 by the architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott is one of the greatest examples of the Arts and Crafts vernacular: the twin ethics of beauty and function, as popularised but the work of William Morris, Ruskin and their fellow artists and craftsmen. Baillie Scott filled the house with beautifully crafted stained glass work, plaster moulding, fine carpentry and textiles. No visitor could fail to fall under Blackwell’s charms, as I did when I first visited with my Mum and Grandmother in the mid 90s. The views across the lake are absolutely breath-taking, and for me, the best place to admire it is from the window seat of the White Drawing Room where bay windows frame a landscape that I have been fortunate enough to have returned to and loved my entire life.
It was the design of the White Room that inspired a ‘white on white’ series of pots featuring the motif of rowan branches, laden with berries and intertwined with leaves. This design appears in the plaster moulding around the White Room fireplace, and is echoed in various pieces, woodwork and ceramic, that occupy the space.
Baillie Scott commissioned jewel-like turquoise ceramic tiles for the fireplace, making a bold contrast and adding a splash of glorious colour in this bright, airy space. One of my pet 'works in progress' is in seeking the perfect glaze for the inside of my pitchers and pots, in an attempt to capture some of the ambiance of the White Room and to complement the pale and delicate sgraffito work.
It's not really surprising that the Blackwell design has been part of my range for years now. I never get tired of it. Working on these pots always takes me back to that beautiful room, sunshine pouring in, a space of warmth and light and utterly gorgeous design, nestled in the hills in what must surely be one of the most beautiful locations on the planet.
Visit https://www.blackwell.org.uk for more information and, if you're ever in the Lake District, drop by for total immersion in a glorious 'turn of the century' fusion of craft and nature.