Burleigh Asiatic Pheasants: An Iconic Collection

Asiatic Pheasants was one of our very first patterns at Burleigh Pottery. Dating back to 1851, it remains one of our best-selling collections worldwide. A subtle and delicate pattern inspired by birds and flowers of faraway lands; it has since come to define the epitome of quintessentially British pottery. If we want to tell the whole story, we must go back, even beyond our beginnings as a pottery company, well before 1851.

Photos taken from book 'Burleigh: The Story Of A Pottery' by Julie McKeown

It's believed that the pattern was first produced by Ralph Hall, or in a partnership of Ralph Hall and John Hall, likely to be brothers. They made in Burslem and Tunstall, according to trade journals of the time, and items produced by John Hall would seem to be the earliest examples of the Asiatic Pheasants pattern. Some of Ralph Halls manufacturing space was taken on by Podmore, Walker & Co, who also made early variations of the pattern and so it’s sometimes thought to be a founding manufacturer of the pattern. We believe it’s most likely that Podmore & Walker acquired the pattern from Ralph Hall.

Photos taken from book 'Burleigh: The Story Of A Pottery' by Julie McKeown

From the patterns very first appearance, Asiatic Pheasants has remained an ever-present feature; seeming to transcend fashions and trends. In total, the pattern was made by over 60 different known factories, but we suspect the number to be far greater, as some makers did not mark items during the earliest days of pottery production. It’s most well known in pale blue, loved by Burleigh customers around the world.

Photos taken from book 'Burleigh: The Story Of A Pottery' by Julie McKeown

The pattern has been around so long that it’s easy to forget just how remarkable the story of this design is, finding a market at various points in its history in just about every corner of the globe. Perfect for traditional English afternoon tea but equally and surprisingly contemporary when paired with a modern home.

It can sit comfortably in a maximalist environment or strike an observer with its elegance in the starkness of a minimalist world. It’s adorned an epic variety of shapes, from bathroom wares, tea ware, formal and casual dining ware, trinket boxes and even a bed pan or two over the years.

Most importantly it’s a story that continues, as it remains as popular as ever here at Middleport home of Burleigh, now the last home of great Asiatic Pheasants.

Produced as part of our Core Collections, we currently make Blue Asiatic PheasantsPink Asiatic Pheasants and Green Asiatic Pheasants.

Old designs, patterns, photos and words are taken from pages of the book 'Burleigh: The Story Of A Pottery' by Julie McKeown.
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