Inspiring a New Range of China
Every few years we design and produce a new range of china that takes its inspiration from the Abbey. This year it was decided that the design should reflect the spiritual and religious side of Westminster Abbey alongside its ties to the crown.
After much searching, it was decided that using the design of the censing angels in the south transept would be the most appropriate way to symbolise the Christian purpose of the building and the people within it. Censing angels have the job of taking the messages and prayers of those on Earth up to God in the heavens; one of the key roles of any church. The angels in the south transept appear below the south rose window and are thought to date from circa 1255. They are seen as some of the best examples of medieval carvings and would originally have been painted in luxurious colours. Some of the original colour on the angels was discovered in the 1930s, which has allowed us to imagine how colourful the stone work in this area of the Abbey would have been when it was first created
The other elements included in our china design show Westminster Abbey’s links to the crown and its status as a Royal Peculiar, the most obvious of which is the crown at the top of the angels as a symbol for the monarchy. Aside from the crown, the influence of royalty can also be seen in the use of the Tudor rose and the oak leaves around the edge of the design. The Tudor rose is one of the best known heraldic symbols and was created by Henry VII to show the merging of the House of York and the House of Lancaster when he took the throne. It features prominently around the Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey (commissioned by Henry VII), which has many of the Tudor royals buried inside it. The oak leaf motif can be found throughout the Abbey as it was commonly used within Gothic architecture; some of the best examples can be seen in the Quire screen within the Nave. Oak leaves are thought to represent strength and sovereignty, and are used across many coats of arms including the one belonging to the Duchess of Cambridge.
The china design is brought together with the Westminster Abbey coat of arms in the centre, which has been used by the Abbey since 1560. It features the coat of arms of St Edward the Confessor at the bottom, a patonce cross surrounded by five martlets, and is topped with the Tudor rose and royal arms. The top part of the shield reflects the 1560 re-foundation of the Abbey by Elizabeth I as a Collegiate Church.
The range of china which features this new design includes a plate, a coaster, tankard, pill box and a cup and saucer. The tankard as shown below is available to buy now. Check our New In category to see the rest soon.