Burleigh has crafted a special gift to mark the Coronation of HM King Charles on 6 May.
Although newly created, the gift is part of legacy that stretches far back into the pottery industry’s heritage and craftsmanship, The Transferrers Book.
A new and unique object, The Transferrers Book is an ode to an essential piece of kit that thousands of decorators who have worked in the Staffordshire potteries would have owned. These intricate objects were created as guides to ensure all the transferrers within a company would know the rules for each pattern – where the print should sit, where cuts should be made, and how each design should fit to each shape. These books become precious protected sources of information, filled with beautiful cut outs of print, and handwritten notes.
Burleigh is home to the last of these skilled workers, known as transferrers. One of the most memorable occasions in the memory of its staff was when HM The King had a decorating lesson during his visit in 2013.
When it came to thinking of a special gift for the Coronation, Burleigh historian Jemma Baskeyfield decided the best gift would be something any budding decorator would need.
Alison Howell, design & development manager at Burleigh says: “Our gift is a celebration of the attention to detail that goes in to crafting every finished piece of Burleigh; and a celebration of the expertise of our decorators who make the intricate process look so effortless.”
Hand-bound onsite using traditional techniques, the gift has been a labour of love from start to finish. Created in much the same way such decorating records have been throughout the company history, this piece will be completely unique as no one else left in the world uses such decorating techniques.
“Hand binding is a heritage craft which I wanted to incorporate into the gift to tie in with Burleigh’s ceramic craftsmanship. Learning to hand bind for this piece has been a slow process (with plenty of research and mistakes along the way) which has ultimately proved very rewarding in creating a unique piece. As a champion of the traditional arts, the hand bound book makes a connection between our business and the recipient of the gift,” adds Zoe Shaw, member of the design team at Burleigh.
On 2 May, Burleigh staff will be officially presenting The Transferrers Book to HM The King’s representative, the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, during a reception at Middleport Pottery.
From this date, a sister copy of the book will be displayed to the public, on the first floor of the Burleigh shop.
“I am so proud that as a company we have gone down the route of creating something different, something that I genuinely believe will be of interest to the King, and not something he would already have. He has been such an important ally to the company and this great building, so saying thank you is really important to each and everyone here,” says Jemma Baskeyfield, company historian at Burleigh.