We all know that tea tastes better from fine bone china (see a previous post on that topic here). Furthermore, you may well know that all of our fine bone china pieces are a result of centuries of craft expertise and to buy from us is to support the continuation of that journey. What you may not be aware of, however, is that two of our pieces support not only the Halcyon Days artisans but myriad others nationwide. The pair of mugs we have created in collaboration with acclaimed supporters of British craft, The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) see a portion of proceeds sent directly to the organisation. So, before you brew your daily Darjeeling or make that next pot of peppermint, take a moment to learn more about QEST and the inspirations behind the design of our two mugs.
One of our artisans at work in our Stoke-on-Trent factory
The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust was founded in 1990 by The Royal Warrant Holders Association, an esteemed group which is currently presided over by Halcyon Days Chairman and CEO, Pamela Harper. The trust was set up in celebration of 150 years of the RWHA as well as the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. In the three decades since, QEST has continuously supported the education and training of talented, upcoming craftspeople with skills as diverse as calligraphy, saddle making, thatching, and textile design. QEST fund traditional college courses, vocational training, and one-on-one classes in order to ensure the continued mastery of traditional and contemporary craft practices. They, like us, believe that sustaining quality British craftsmanship is integral to preserving the best of our cultural identity.
In the last 30 years, QEST have awarded £5 million to over 600 individuals working across the UK in 130 different craft disciplines. With the trust’s support, those individuals have painted, paved, carved, and cobbled their way to being world-renowned artisans who keep Britain’s reputation as a centre of craft excellence flourishing and evolving. The professionals the trust supports receive guidance throughout their careers with QEST organising exhibitions, collaborations and commissions through their comprehensive craft network. In 2017, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales became patron of the group and his emotional and professional investment has seen its branches extend further by the year.
Created in unison with this great organisation, our two QEST mugs are handcrafted, hand-gilded and hand-painted by the highly skilled artisans in our Stoke-on-Trent factory. Their design showcases an assortment of traditional tools representative of some of the craft disciplines that QEST so devotedly work to maintain and enhance. These mugs represent a collaboration forged by a common commitment to cherishing artisanal craft as an ancient, essential element of our identity both at brand and national level. So, pour your next cup of tea into one of these mugs and savour not only the enhanced flavour, but the knowledge that your sips are supporting guitar builders, stained glass painters, embroiderers, and enamelers as they continue to master, refine and pass on the uniquely skilful disciplines that they love. We’ll drink to that.