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Royal Doulton celebrates its bicentenary

Jay Osgerby

Jay Osgerby

Better than a letter from the Queen, Royal Doulton is celebrating its bicentenary with a new designer range.

Though Barber & Osgerby and Royal Doulton were founded well over a century apart in London, their mutual recognition of quality design has drawn them together.

To create a commemorative range for its bicentenary, Royal Doulton commissioned "the two best designers in the UK right now", according to design director Dik Delaney.

The design duo of Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby has produced Olio, a tableware collection that pays tribute to Royal Doulton's unique design heritage. The 40-item collection of cutlery, and serving and tabletop items is fashioned in ceramic, stainless steel and wood, as well as glazed and unglazed clays. The pair has also created a commemorative matt-black stoneware vase inspired by the interlocking salt-glazed clay pipes that Henry Doulton designed in the 1840s, which later served as the foundation for underground sanitation in London. "We knew we weren't going to be reinventing the wheel with the shapes," Osgerby says, "but this is more about the history."

Delaney, who has been with Doulton for almost 25 years, couldn't be happier with the partnership. "We do what we do very well," he says, "but when you invite someone from a different industry or discipline, you get an exciting new perspective."

Barber & Osgerby limited-edition Pipe Vase for Royal Doulton, $249; pieces in its Olio collection start at $15.95

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