Musica for reading by . . .

I’ve been collecting mugs and teapots from the British designer Emma Bridgewater for years, ever since the first time I saw them lining the shelves in a little shop on Martha’s Vineyard.  I ran toward them, saying (in the seagull voice from Finding Nemo) “mine” and have never looked back.

 Emma is a real person, married to co-owner and artist Matthew Rice (whose mom, Pat Albeck, is also a wonderful artist and designs all the National Trust linen dish-towels, among other things).  Emma’s “country pottery” as she calls it, is still handmade in the heart of England, Stoke-on-Trent (known as “The Potteries”), using the old-fashioned techniques they are famous for.  Just at the time when the last of the old factories was closing, when a whole industry was disappearing, when so many trained people had lost their jobs and china was starting to be cheaply made in China — that’s when Emma and Matthew opened their business and began hiring (a bit like running toward the burning buildings).  When we were in England, we visited their factory and had a fascinating afternoon learning all about what they do.

While we were there . . .

They set us up with mugs, paints and the tools to make our own Emma mugs to remember our trip by — we did drawings of what we wanted before we left home, which made it a lot easier when we got there.

After we painted the mugs, the factory fired them and then shipped them to us here on the island — they were waiting for us when we got home.  Originals, no others like them, one of a kind, and all ours.  I’m drinking my tea from the one on the left right now!  If you go to England you can do this too!

Emma and her company was featured in the January 2009 issue of British Country Living Magazine (my favorite magazine, I took these photos of it for you).  She loves china dishes as much as I do!  The only thing  is, her company is forever withdrawing patterns and retiring them.  You never know when the thing you love the most will no longer be available.  I miss the BEST FRIENDS cup they used to do!   It does make the mugs more collectible, no two collections alike, and her heart-dappled pottery does a good job of making up for the loss of that Love and Kisses cup!

Since they are made the same way, in the same place as vintage china was made, my Emma cups look wonderful mixed and matched with my old china dishes and tea things.

At first we were a little frightened to buy Emma cups for our web store.  With the costs of shipping pottery from England to America, the cups are expensive.  I was worried, what if it’s just me that loves them?  This could be a big investment for our small company that might just end up being Christmas presents for my girlfriends for a lifetime!  But we’ve discovered that lots of you love Emma as much as I do! We’re committed to it now — everyone loves the collecting and displaying.  Collections are blooming all over America.

♥     ♥     ♥

Emma cups and teapots are the kind of thing you save for — or get as a gift on your birthday.  You buy something else on sale and take that money you saved and apply it to an Emma Bridgewater cup or teapot!  Where there’s a will, my mom used to say, there’s a way.

Getting ready for a tea party, I’m mixing in new Emma mugs with old vintage ones. I like that Emma puts words on her china.

And here’s my pride and joy. ♥  Hope you enjoyed our Emma tour. Just knowing that Emma Bridgewater, a regular girl, had the inspiration and guts to start her own china company in England in this day and age gives me hope for the future for all brave and inspired people who wonder, can I do that?  She and Matthew are proof positive, if you dream it, you can make it so. xoxo

100 Responses to Emma

  1. Christie Ray says:

    I love my daffodil mug and my British birds mug. They just make my morning cup of coffee that much better, so thank you for carrying them here;)

  2. Julie Jenkins says:

    I have her heart tea cup and sugar bowl. I just bought the 4 cup teapot and the heart plate. I figure it will be perfect for special meals or to put out “crumpets” when I serve tea ~ if only to me. Happy Birthday to me……Happy Birthday to me……. Thanks Susan!!!! xo

  3. Carol C says:

    I tried to order the hearts teapot but they haven’t come in yet. Is it possible to be on a waiting list so that you know if you’ll get one of the ones that come in or if I need to look elsewhere. I’d love to have it for Valentine’s.

  4. Robyn Thompson says:

    What a treat! Love the teapot.

    Some years ago I got a robin cup at your CA store, since my name is Robyn. I did not make the connection that it was Emma until just now. I like it very well.

  5. Rattling On says:

    Hi! Just found your lovely blog and am enjoying reading back issues… I live quite near the EB factory and visit a few times a year. They have a marvellous cafe there as well.
    I bought some robin mugs just before Christmas, and they now do small mugs-more coffee can size- as well. (Also got some of the Joy pattern which is great)
    I am after bullfinch mugs which have been retired… very annoying!!

    • sbranch says:

      The way they retire things! You barely see them and they’re GONE. There’s a 60th Anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth cup coming out, we are trying SO hard to get it before it’s gone!

      • judy young says:

        I was able to get one of these from another blog, I have forgotten which one, but she had two available and I bought one of them. This was my first “Emma” mug and wow, is all I can say! It is truly beautiful, big, colorful, feels so smooth and heavy and such a nice “feel”. I just love it. I have not had a cup of tea in it yet, it sits in my china cabinet in a place of honor. One of these days I will have to break it in!

  6. Kathy Lorenzini says:

    Bought the Diamond Jubilee mug tonight! I have been wanting something from England so I can celebrate the Diamond Jubilee in style!! This is the first piece of Emma Bridgewater I will have-but certainly not the last!

  7. i have been collecting emma bridgewater since the early 90’s since my first trip to nantucket where i also saw the collection in a gift shop…..i have many mugs and many different patterns that interchange so nicely…..toast and marmalade is my favorite… : )

  8. Theresa says:

    Just when I thought I had my perfect everyday mug, I came across Emma Bridgewater’s “Tea & Coffee & Hot Chocolate” mug and now I’m saving the pennies. 😉

  9. EB~wares are expensive even in the UK without all the shipping and import duties to America. I know some who say that if they paid that much for a mug they would consign it to the china cabinet to look at . . eeeeeek! EB is made to be used and loved and I use and love mine every day.

    I have four limited edition EB cereal bowls that were made in conjunction with Rachel’s Organic Yogurt (the best yogurt on the planet) and each morning they are used for my slow simmered porridge served with warmed blueberries. For a special treat, a teaspoon of the most deliciously dark molasses sugar goes in the bottom where it melts into a pool of treacley heavenliness to be greedily devoured . .

    • sbranch says:

      I’m drinking out of an Emma cup right now. It’s that the designs are retired so fast that makes them even more intriguing. I go to my girlfriends houses and they have all different Emma than I do and we sort of lust after each other’s collections! It’s fun — but you’re right, it’s expensive!

  10. Suzanne Larsen says:

    My new JOY mug fills me with joy everytime I open my cupboard. In the last ten years, my health has been declining, and so it gives me great pleasure to have this beautiful treasure in my home. I have my tea and my hot chocolate in it, and it temporarily takes away the cough. I loved England when I was there in 2000…many lasting memories of Bath and the Cotswolds and York where I had tea in an Earl Grey tearoom. I loved Brighton although it was cold when I was there. I was visiting England and Scotland with a chorale that I was in and it’s associated with the junior college here in Mesa (AZ). I brought home a Chintz china teapot set – “Lydia” was the pattern. Delicate yellow background with pink roses and spots of blue and green, here and there. If I’d know about Emma back then, I would have started collecting then. As it is, I’m starting to collect Emma now. Thank goodness there are still people out there creating beautiful treasures for us to collect.

  11. kim says:

    Thanks to you I have bought my first piece of EB. When I saw your heart teapot I knew I had to have it. I ended up finding the heart teapot, but instead of just the red/pinkish heart I ended up with the all different colored hearts on mine. And I really truely love that teapot. I haven’t seen it around on the EB website, so I know it must already have come and gone…. On to some mugs next.

  12. Ruthanne says:

    PS – How could I forget to mention Laura Ashley! I love EVERYTHING about her….(I am currently struggling to fit back into those beautiful flowery spring skirts and blouses I bought when we lived in the UK oh so many years ago!!!) I dressed my daughter in her clothes for years as well….the big splurge each winter was the little girls woolen coat and hat for Jessie to wear! Anyway, Laura Ashley was another precious English treasure…

  13. Darlene Messina says:

    I don’t see the Emma Bridgewater QE commemorative mug on your site. Is it still available? I’d love to have one.

  14. Sara says:

    I’ve only recently begun collecting EB mugs. Thank you ever so much for the introduction! I have the Love Sampler and the 2012 Year in the Country mugs and am hoping to still find a Joy mug. I’ll be checking to see if you’re able to get that in again. Love shopping in your online shop!

  15. Vicki b says:

    yayy i have my first emma mug was helping my mum sort out her junk! room and came across a pretty union jack mug in a draw!! knew instantly this was an emma mug before i turned it upside down to look at bottom .. apparently this was a gift to my mum from someone.. i have now rescued the gorgeous mug from the drawer and will be having my coffee out of it most mornings 🙂 xx vicki

  16. Vicky says:

    boo hoo .. I missed the 60 years as Queen mug. Is there any chance that Emma will have more for Susan Branch readers? ~Vicky

  17. Linda Tuskey says:

    I am looking for you in England! I am here on a trip from my home in Richmond, Virginia. I read your message about going to the Lake District on your website while we were in the Cotswolds. We left there yesterday, and I saw that you would soon be at the Emma Bridgewater factory. When I looked it up and realized that we would drive right by Stoke-on-Trent on our way to Keswick, I prevailed upon my husband to stop (not easy like it is with Joe). Oh, my goodness! I was in heaven. I bought the mini “Lots of Love” mugs for all of my grandchildren and my nieces’ children and babies as yet unborn! (If you don’t see any when you are there because I have bought them all, email me and I will send you one. We also discovered a mug that says, “Big Love”. My husband Terry’s grandfather name is “Big”! Perfect! I asked the sales lady if you had been there yet so if you are treated like a celebrity when you arrive, it may be because I told her about your many achievements. I know you will be giddy as I was. I will look for you at Hilltop tomorrow! Linda

    • sbranch says:

      How fun! We are still in the gorgeous Peak District, where I think I would like to stay forEVER. If you could see where I am right now…but I’ll post it in a little while. Love the Big Love cups!

  18. Linda Tuskey says:

    I emailed my children after being in The Cotswolds and then coming to the Lake District that I was in a muddle as to which was my favorite. I hope you will get to Hill Top as early as you can because it would be fun to be there all day. When children enter, a very kind man gives them a copy of “The Tale of Samuel Whiskers” because most of the pictures in that little volume were drawn from the interior of Hill Top. I wanted to compare each drawing and each item in each drawing with the actual scene that is just as Beatrix potter left it. You will see her straw hat that is very much like your Laura Ashley one in your Peter Rabbit Room! You will love it. We are off to Scotland tomorrow so I am not likely to run in to you. Have a wonderful va action and a safe trip home.

  19. Jane Bailey says:


    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful thoughts on your journey to England. I have a good friend, Irine, who is English and she is always telling me that I must, must go for a good visit! Right now I’m living vicariously through your blog, but I’m taking lots of notes for a trip that I am planning…..right now it’s only in my head, but that’s okay.

    It’s been fun watching all the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations on tv and knowing that you are in the midst of all the fun!

  20. Angela Sweby says:

    Susan, hi again,
    I had to read this post as Emma Bridgewater pottery is my favourite. My husband is from the Potteries and we visit often. We were delighted when EB opened her pottery up in Stoke breathing new life into a struggling industry. It’s a real breath of fresh air.
    I’m so glad you enjoyed visiting the Peak District. It really is breathtakingly beautiful 🙂

  21. Robin Faris says:

    I got the mug that has “Robin Birds” flying around it. And on the inside of the mug, there is my name! So I got it for my husband last year for Christmas, and he said “Why did you get this for me? I replied that way every time you drink from it you can think of me, and say a little prayer for me”!!

  22. Kathy Jones says:

    Oh Susan, I am so excited! I have lurked and read your Willard and wonderful blog for ever so long. I have lived vicariously this Summer through your wonderful journey, and then watching the Olympics. We leave for England in less than two weeks, first trip there, can hardly contain myself. Looking forward to the Cotswolds and seeing Emma pottery firsthand 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful adventure with us!
    I have missed visiting your store out here in California, always loved visiting it when passing through, have a glorious Autumn……Kathy

  23. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    I have two Emma mugs–I ordered the zinnia mug from your store and Matthew Rice’s summer in the country from the Emma web site. A few days ago I found an Emma pumpkin mug from 2008 on ebay–it was in England, and its buy-it-now price was more than double the cost of the new ones, but I loved it! Tomorrow’s my birthday so hubby encouraged me to get it, AND he came back from the market today with a pound of freshly ground pumpkin spice coffee–my mug should be here by the end of the week, and I can’t wait to sip my coffee from it!

  24. Debra Rollins says:

    Forgot to say, I’ve been collecting the bird mugs and my mother collects the flower mugs. They are perfect to drink from.

  25. Debbie Johnson says:

    Hi Susan,

    I have seen that they have a Pug mug…Do you think you will bring that one in your shop? I would rather order it from you.


  26. Sandi A. says:

    Hi Susan,
    I love my EB mug with the Cosmo flowers surrounding the mug! And now my sister loves this mug and wants one, but I cannot find it on your site, so they must not make it any longer! And YES, they are expensive, but like you say “it is worth it, so just start saving your pennies!”. I went of EB’s website and discovered how very, very expensive they are to be shipped to US. Even though your shipping rates are steep to be shipped to Nevada, it is quite less than having a mug shipped from the UK!
    Is there any likelihood you would ever be having the “Bluebelle” design on the mug? This is one I wanted to order from EB in UK, but between the cost of the mug and the cost of shipping, it was too expensive to order
    I just LOVE, LOVE , LOVE all your items you sell on your website, and like I have said before, I have been a follower of your whimsical artwork ever since you started, and I have all your products, I think! Including all your book, so I will be anxious to receive your up and new book. I loved viewing your new book on Williard, so THANK YOU for all your amazing artwork and verbage to go along with your paintings.

    I have many, many of your stickers which are becoming hard to find! But my sticker collection is still filled with your artwork!

    Thank you, again, so much for your lovely artwork, Susan..it is a great way to start any day. 🙂

  27. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    I was wondering about the cosmos mug too!?! Let us know.

  28. Rosemary Morse says:

    Susan – I bought a “Rise and Shine” Emma Bridgewater from you some years ago that must be a pint and a half because it’s bigger than my other EB mugs. Do you still sell the larger mugs (other than the hearts mug)? I just love them all – they feel so substantial and warm both hands equally on a cold morning! lol

    Have a great day!

    Hugs and stuff,

    • sbranch says:

      I’m a large mug person too, drink from them every morning. Piglet tea is what I call it! They have very few that size. When we were at the factory, that’s the size we chose to decorate for ourselves. They have one with the Union Jack on it… should I get it into the web store, or is a flag a bit too much for you?

      • Rosemary Morse says:

        Yes, I think the Union Jack is a bit much, but thank you so much for offering! LOL I’ll settle right now for my rooster Rise and Shine. I also have the Toast & Marmalade Cocoa Mug which is the same size. Thank you for introducing me to the marvelous mugs!!


        • sbranch says:

          There’s a new one I just ordered, it’s all black with white letters … interesting. Like a Toast & Marmalade only in reverse!

  29. Linda says:

    Oh Susan, I followed your advice and saved a little here, a little there and finally bought my first (won’t be my last) Emma Mug… its one from the flower collection and I must say it is beautiful and so worth the little extra $, my morning coffee never taste better! I will enjoy it for yrs to come… Thank You

    • sbranch says:

      That’s so great. Everything is better when you have to save a bit for it. So happy you love it…they are so beautifully made.

  30. Janis says:

    I just got my first mug.
    Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book! I adore drinking my coffee in it and I’m in love with the Toast and Marmalade line. So lovely. They package it all so lovely from across the sea too : )

  31. Kerie Kelly says:

    I couldn’t think of what to get my mom for Mother’s Day this year. I happened to click on the Emma Bridgewater line on your site and feel in love with the chickens. My mom has several chickens in Washington and she loves all things British. I ordered her the Buff Orpington Mug – she will love it! I know I do! Thank you for offering such beautiful items!

  32. Joanne Retzler says:

    Just got your new book, A Fine Romance, and finished it all in one day. So wonderful!! I have never had an Emma cup, but long after them whenever I shop your site, so now I will definitely have to buy one soon, maybe when I order your calendar. I have been a fan of yours ever since a good friend sent me your Autumn cookbook, and I fell in love with your style! Thank you for letting me share your world! xxoo

  33. Robyn Genau says:

    Dear Susan,
    I am trying to select a mug from Emma Bridgewater. I thought I saw one with foxes on it but now don’t see it. Do you remember seeing that or have I just looked at too much china?
    I have been savoring your new book since I received it and sadly I finished it yesterday. I wanted it to go on and on. Thank you Susan for sharing your experiences with us from a world I’m sure few of us knew existed.

  34. judy young says:

    I was just reading the comments here and began thinking, how wonderful it would be if Susan and Emma Bridgewater would collaborate on a mug. Susan’s art and their expertise on the pottery or design/style of the mug. They have to realize how MANY mugs they would sell if they did that, because we would ALL have to have it!!!!!!

  35. Marianne says:

    Just received my first Emma mug! I love it and already know it will not be my last! Thank you for providing a way to own this wonderful pottery in the USA! But most of all, thank you for sharing the story so that your girlfriends can own these treasures too. Will you be offering the ” Holly and Ivy” mugs this holiday season? Oh… I hope so!

  36. Nancy Mikesell says:

    I have started collecting small or medium creamer. Do you have any of those with some cute decorations?

  37. Sharon Maier says:

    Well, I’m hooked. I just love my Emma hare mug…it was my first, and now I need more! Thank you for alerting everyone to these wonderful mugs…can’t get enough of them. Next will be the hedgehog, and then the fox, and then….!
    I’m hoping to see the holly and ivy mugs on your site for the holidays…and as always, thank you for your great blogs. I have tried to sign up for Willard to no avail…I think it’s some sort of computer glitch. Will try again soon.

    • sbranch says:

      That’s what happened to me too … I got one, and it was just the beginning! I haven’t written a Willard for a while now, so you haven’t missed anything yet Sharon … you will know, I’ll announce it on the blog when I do.

  38. Jill says:

    I’m trying to find the bidgewater happiness mug, but it seems to be either sold out or maybe discontinued? joannehudson.com/emma-bridgewater-pottery-usa/eb-black-toast/tandm-happiness-5-pint-mug.html

  39. Catie Cook says:

    Like Sharon Maier, I would LOVE the holly and ivy mugs! Any chance that you’ll be offering them? Thanks, Susan! And welcome home…?

  40. Catie Cook says:

    Susan… you MUST collaborate with Emma Bridgewater! They would be the best selling mugs E.V.E.R….!!!!!! Pleeeeeeease!

  41. Karen says:

    I bought the most adorable EB serving bowl today. The top is a Silver Spangled (I think) which fits cozily into the oval shaped bowl. I envision it filled with fluffy scrambled eggs, cremefraiche and fresh chives from the herb garden.

  42. Karen Keen says:

    Thank you, Dearest Susan, for all that you do to bring such love and enjoyment to me and I am sure to everyone who is in touch with you.

    Bless you,

  43. Mary Anne Helms says:

    I have been collecting Emma Bridgewater since she started way back when!!! I love it and also her husband’s paper items which are no longer made. They are among my most precious possessions. Since I visit England often, I have been lucky to visit the factory many times and have made friends there. The only problem is that I am running out of space for all these fabulous pots!! I have all the Royal ones including the new baby, as well as lots of the lovely pink chintz which was one of their earliest patterns. I just wish they wouldn’t add so many enticing new patterns. The Zinnia one is fabulous.

  44. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Today’s mail brought my February issue of UK’s Country Living. There’s an interview with Emma on the last page! So happy you introduced me to both Emma Bridgewater pottery and UK Country Living…love them both!

  45. Shirley Graham says:

    Is there any way that I can get a catalog from Emma Bridgewater? I don’t know of any store that handles them around me & would love to see all the mugs, etc.. Thank you!

  46. Julie Ratcliffe says:

    Hi Susan. I live in Stoke-on-Trent, and am lucky to be able to visit the factory whenever I want. My daughters and my mum and I love to go and decorate pots and we all have quite a collection now. They are great reminders of lovely times spent together, especially now the girls are grown up.

    I love your website which I have just found via a british blog written by a lady who is reading your book A Fine Romance. I have bought a copy with a gift token from Christmas and I’m really enjoying it. I laughed out loud at your description of driving away from Southampton and loved the drawing of the “roundabout”. I’m trying to savour every page because I knew as soon as I opened it, it was going to be one of those books I don’t want to end. Thankyou! x

    • sbranch says:

      You are lucky Julie! Thank you for saying hello — I’m so happy you’re enjoying my book — as you can tell, we had a very wonderful time in your gorgeous country.

  47. Bev Wiedeman says:

    I had never heard of Emma Bridgewater china until I read your blog, (I just discovered it today, March 28, 2014. Where have I been? Thank you for so many wonderful pictures of Jack and Girl Cat ( I think that’s their names). I also just discovered who you are through your book: “A Fine Romance……” and I told you my experience with it on the Stillmeadow blog. Love it! I’ll have to order a mug from your store, it looks like it’s in San Luis Obispo. We used to live in Visalia, just over the small hills from there in the valley. Now we’re in the high mtns. of Colorado. I got some Coronation Tea from one of my Daughters, now wish I could get the mug to go with it, but they are probably all gone. Best Wishes, Bev

  48. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Oh, darn….last night I noticed a link on Facebook to your new shipment of Emma mugs, and I fell in love with the Kitchen Dresser one. I should have placed my order then, because when I went back today they were sold out 🙁 Hopefully they’ll be back in stock soon! Hugs

  49. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Susan, did you get a email from Emma about the Collectors Club Open Days in July? Wouldn’t attending that be fun? My kitchen “dresser” is getting pretty well stocked with her wonderful mugs as well as a few of her plates. When a new one comes along that I adore, however, there always seems to be the perfect spot to tuck it in. I’m hooked!

  50. Mary Hartigan says:

    I love Emma Bridgewater. I have several of her tea towels and a few pieces of china. My favorite is my Robin mug … I must tell you that I read “A Fine Romance” several years ago and love it. I have a signed copy!!! I have wonderful memories of my Mom & I sailing on the QEII. We made several trips over the years. My Mom was from England and I was born there. Needless to say “A Fine Romance” has a special place in my library …

  51. Carolyn L Rains says:

    I would love to purchase a cup.

  52. Margaret Harke says:

    Just reading the inscription in one of your Emma mugs and realized that you and Joe are Hall & Branch. Very clever of you two.

  53. Mrs, Mary Elizabeth Lawrence aka MiMi says:

    Love them! I have half a dozen and would have as many as my space affords. Mary

  54. Eileen Ammendolea says:

    I just received my Shakespeare mug and mug honoring the Queen’s 90th birthday. I am so happy with them! I also bought a polka-dot baby mug and it’s so special when my 3 year old granddaughter Victoria and I have tea time together!

  55. I just returned from England where my girlfriends and I visited the village of Bampton which was used as the village in Downton Abbey. In the building used as the exterior for the (TV) hospital there is a gift shop with Downton Abbey souvenirs (these are not found at Highclere Castle). And in the gift shop there is a special EB mug with illustrations of Bampton with proceeds from the cups going to the Bampton library. Guess why Bampton has this special honor. EB lives in Bampton! Wouldn’t you know she would live in the perfect little village! One girlfriend and I purchased cups, but hers was broken in transit and she was brokenhearted. I gave her mine and I will glue the other one and sit it on the shelf to look at as I drink from another cup in my EB collection.

  56. Jan Lane says:

    I love Emma’s pottery. I have 2 of the smaller breakfast mugs with the ROBIN design, and one with the pink and red hearts. They are so cheerful! If I am not drinking tea from my auntie Kay’s or Nonie’s collection, I sometimes use the Emma cups. They are the perfect sized cup for morning coffee as well. Hope to hear some cheerful stories from your last journey to the UK. Bon Voyage as you travel back home!

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