In 2013, Richard Brendon founded his namesake company in Notting Hill, London. The intention was simple: to offer beautifully-crafted crystal and bone china collections that have a contemporary feel with the traditions of British heritage handicraft techniques. Employing contemporary shapes and designs, Richard Brendon has quickly become known worldwide as a brand that produces items that clients will love, collect, and pass down to future generations.
Brendon’s first collection was called, “Reflect;” it taught the designer everything he needed to know about the history of British porcelain. The process led Brendon to Stoke-on-Trent, the center of British ceramics for over three hundred years. Along with the storied history, this location is where highly skilled porcelain makers often work and perfect their craft.
The initial bone china collection seamlessly bridged the gap between tradition and contemporary design. What struck the designer as he walked up and down and throughout all the potteries at Stoke-on-Trent was that (courtesy of Cool Hunting), “the industry went from half a million people to maybe 10,000 today. That’s since the 1980s. The industry was obliterated.” Brendon felt as though it was his duty to work with the town’s talented craftspeople to help regenerate the struggling industry.
The antique-inspired pieces in the collection are decorated with platinum and gold gilding. The teacups reflect the patterned saucers; each one is beautifully decorated and paired with a saucer that has been sourced from various antique dealers from across the country. An added touch is that each set comes with a handwritten card notating the saucer’s specific history.
In 2019, Brendon introduced “Dip;” a collection that is inspired by creamware. Popular before bone china was produced , creamware is made from a light-colored earthenware that was developed in the mid 18th-century. This collection entailed quite a bit of research so Brendon started off pursuing the ceramic archives at the V&A. Following, Brendon spent time in the Royal Stafford factory where he was able to experiment with different styles which included splattering and spraying pieces with glassy glazes. The next progression was “Dip;” it was produced for industrialized-batch production. Each piece of bone china goes through several pairs of hands prior to completion. Most of the craftspeople employed by Brendon have been slip-casting, fettling, and hand-painting for several decades.
After finding success in ceramics, Brendon segued into cut crystal and glassware pieces. He says (courtesy of his site), “Over the next few years we will move into other materials, as well. This problem exists around the world: we are losing skillful craftspeople at an alarming rate. We will lose the ability to make great products, but we can’t be in a world with only the mediocre.”
Brendon always does a lot of research prior to starting a new collection. For one of his first cut-crystal collections, Brendon collaborated with Jancis Robinson, a well-known and admired wine critic. The hope was to understand the way people consume wine. Brendon had been asked to design wine glass for many years; however that is not as simple as it might seem. The designer says, “I’ve always had the right manufacturers and wanted to do it, but a wine glass isn’t like a whisky glass. It has to be functionally perfect and support the liquid. I knew I had to find a wine expert to partner with.” From the technical specifications that Robinson prescribed, Brendon had the tools necessary to design his creations. The collection also includes a water glass and two decanters: one for younger wine and the other for more mature wine.
Recently, Brendon collaborated with the V&A to design a wonderful collection that shines the light on the “golden era of Georgian ceramics.” Brendon chose four of his favorite patterns from the museum’s vast archives, recreating with a whimsical twist. The teacups all employ Brendon’s signature gold and platinum reflective trim. The collection, which launched in September, was made possible thanks to the partnership the designer created with the illustrator, Chris Martin. Definitely easy on the eyes!