One Lovely Rose: The Story Behind Emma's Rose

One Lovely Rose: The Story Behind Emma's Rose

The unveiling of the latest English rose from David Austin, was one of the highlights (definitely, our personal highlight) of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show press day on Monday 20th May 2024. The Chelsea Flower Show is the plant and garden world's version of the Oscars and highlights the pedigree of gardening skill and talent of the UK.

Emma joined David in unveiling the latest in a long line of household names immortalised as a rose. Emma was thrilled when she discovered that David Austin wanted to name his rose after her.

“I am delighted by our collaboration with David Austin Roses, a British brands with a real crossover of vision and ideas. Visiting the David Austin nursery and witnessing the rose creation process was thrilling and incredibly inspiring. I have been surrounded and loved David Austin Roses for as long as I remember as both my mum and granny were keen gardeners and loved them. Much like a well-loved piece of pottery roses can be like old friends, with a personalised connection for people.”

— Emma.

To celebrate the coming together of these two British heritage brands, Emma Bridgewater are delighted to launch the David Austin® Rose Collection.

Shop the collection here.


One Perfect Rose

 “It’s got more complexity to it colour-wise and I think that artistic element links well with Emma and her work.” 

— David Austin

The process of creating a David Austin rose starts with choosing plants to breed from for brilliant colour and a lovely fragrance. The painstaking process of cross-pollination and seed collection is done entirely by hand (much like all our pottery pieces!), with the team making around 60,000 crosses a year.

Aesthetic and fragrance are key, but this must be backed up with disease resistance (the roses to the test in field trials lasting at least 10 years). Country Living explains how - “After ten years, there are perhaps a dozen still in the race but eventually one rose – occasionally two – stands out for the final year or so. This is how the ‘Emma Bridgewater’ rose, at that time still unnamed, finally emerged a winner.” You can read more about the making of a rose in Country Living’s article.


“A rose does – without question – have a character and a personality… I just know that a name will go with a certain rose; I can’t explain why.”

— David Austin to Country Living 


Emma enlisted the expertise of a professional "nose" to break down the fragrance of the rose, and to her delight, they picked up on hints of tea and toast in the mix- “though it may have been poetic licence” says Emma.


A visit to the nursery

Emma visited the nursery and had tea in David’s mum’s kitchen. Somewhat of a full circled moment was had when Emma spotted her own designs mixed and muddled on a dresser alongside designs by Susan Williams-Ellis, founder of Portmeirion pottery, a significant influence on Emma's decision to pursue her own business.


“It was surprisingly emotional for me – a nice feeling of our mums having had the same ideas about life.”

— Emma told Country Living. 


David Austin At The EB Factory

We were delighted to welcome David and his wife to our factory in Stoke-On-Trent. David enjoyed a special tour around the factory meeting many of skilled workers who handcraft all our pottery pieces in the factory.

David followed in the footsteps of royals (both Princess Kate and King Charles) and got his hand on to clay to throw a plate with our flat-maker Wayne – who was on hand to help.


All our David Austin roses pieces are created through the historic process of lithography. Our decorator visited the main factory site (from the usual location in Berryhill) to show David the historic process.  All the pieces in the collection including our Emma’s Rose mug have a special David Austin Roses backstamp is hand placed on the bottom.


Behind The Design

Our Roses all my Life pattern was inspired by old fashioned tea roses, big and bold with their old-time beauty and scent - hazy and romantic but with a slight edge. Marking a return to roses, a theme which will never die the Roses All My Life collection focuses more on watercolour painted flowers on pottery. A nod to a time gone by with influences from Wemyss ware and 1890s inspired fashion prints.


Chelsea In Bloom - In Conversation With Emma 

Join us at Peter Jones on Tuesday 21st May when Kendrick of Country Living will be asking Emma all about the Emma Bridgewater x David Austin® rose and you’ll have the oppurtunity to see the David Austin® Rose Collection in Peter Jones’ Chelsea In Bloom window display. 

Emma’s Rose features in Chelsea’s prestigious annual floral art show and London’s largest free-to-attend festival of flowers, Chelsea in Bloom. Taking centre stage outside of the Peter Jones' installation in Sloane Square, Emma will be visiting the display, speaking to Country Living and signing pieces of our David Austin roses collection in store.