Moorcroft: how decorative art pottery brings the outdoors in

Moorcroft's RHS Fiori Bottan collection

Moorcroft's RHS Fiori Bottan collection includes six original pieces of horticulture-inspired art pottery - Credit: Moorcroft

Taking comfort in our surroundings has become more important than ever, with many of us seeking ways to connect our indoor and outdoor spaces and benefit from the mood-boosting effects of nature within our homes.

“One way to bring the natural world into our interiors is through horticulture-inspired decorative art,” suggests Catherine Gage from Arts and Crafts pottery brand, Moorcroft.

“Displaying beautiful art pottery that reflects your garden design or depicts your favourite flower is a lovely way to enjoy the tranquillity of nature indoors – and you’ll have a piece of treasure you can cherish for years to come,” she says.

Italian Iris vase by Moorcroft

Italian Iris vase - Credit: Moorcroft

For their latest RHS Fiori Bottan collection, Moorcroft teamed up with leading gardening charity the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to celebrate the UK’s horticultural heritage within the home. The new collection, designed by ceramicist Nicola Slaney, will be showcased at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park from July 21-25, 2021.

We spoke to Catherine about the inspiration behind the RHS Moorcroft collection and how their decorative art pottery brings the outdoors in.

Q: How has the natural world inspired Moorcroft designs?

The Potter's Garden vase by Moorcroft

The Potter's Garden vase - Credit: Moorcroft

A: For more than a century, Moorcroft has harnessed the beauty and vitality of plants and flowers in their ceramic designs, displayed in homes and museums around the world. The brand has evolved from the 19th century designs of William Moorcroft, famed for his Florian Ware pottery which was based on British wildflowers.

Today, Moorcroft’s ceramic designers are still heavily influenced by the natural world and its depiction in art. The collaboration with the RHS brings together master pottery artists and horticulturists in the true spirit of the Arts and Crafts movement, which was all about the rediscovery of nature and integration of the arts within the home and garden.

Q: How did the RHS Fiori Bottan collection come about?

Blue Mist plate by Moorcroft

Blue Mist coaster - Credit: Moorcroft

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A: Designer Nicola Slaney was granted access to historical botanical artwork in the RHS Lindley Collections, as well as various horticultural valuables from the charity’s gardens. Her floral designs are inspired by a carefully preserved collection of original watercolours on vellum dating from the 17th century. The album, entitled ‘Fiori Bottan’, features beautiful images of plants such as daffodils, tulips, anemones, irises and lilies.

Although the artist is sadly unknown, it’s amazing to think that these 300-year-old watercolours have been transformed by Nicola into contemporary art ceramics to be enjoyed by a new generation in their homes.

Q: What does the collection include?

RHS Fiori Bottan collection Turk's cap lily plaque

Turk's Cap Lily plaque - Credit: Moorcroft

A: The RHS Fiori Bottan collection features six unique pieces of art pottery which can be displayed in any room of the home – although an orangery, conservatory or garden-facing windowsill is the perfect place to accentuate the connection between the indoors and outdoors. The floral designs are based on the original watercolours and come in the form of a jug, coaster, plaque and vases in various shapes and sizes.

Blue Mist – despite its small size, this colourful coaster depicting aquilegia vulgaris (commonly known as columbine) makes an impact with soft pink buds and joyful, trumpet-shaped flowers.

Forsaken Love – this decorative vase features attractive anemone flowers, which have various meanings within Greek mythology: white blooms are associated with sincerity, pink with forsaken love and purple with protection.

Italian Iris – presented on a brand-new Moorcroft shape, this stunning iris design draws the eye with cheerful shades of blue, orange and yellow swirling around the graceful curves of the vase.

The Potter’s Garden – The elegant 93/10 shape of this vase brings a simple beauty to the image of snowflakes and narcissus blooms with ivory white petals and golden trumpet centres.

Spring Squill – Based on an original watercolour of scilla verna (spring squills), this limited-edition jug features the soft blue flower heads commonly found in Western Europe during springtime.

Turk’s Cap Lily – this delightful framed plaque showing precious lilium martagon is sure to brighten up any room of the home.

RHS Fiori Bottan collection Spring Squill watercolour jug

Spring Squill jug - Credit: Moorcroft

A Moorcroft stand displaying the RHS Fiori Bottan Collection will be at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park from July 21-25. Find out more at rhs.org.uk/shows-events/RHS-flower-show-tatton-park.

For more information about joining the RHS and the benefits of membership, visit rhs.org.uk/join. For details of the wide range of work carried out by the RHS in the community visit rhs.org.uk/get-involved.