When the Duchess of York became the U.S. Spokesperson for Wedgwood, she hosted a luncheon for editors of the country’s most prestigious design magazines at The New York Palace Hotel. Each of the twelve tables would be set with a different pattern of Wedgwood china, and Susan Aiello was retained to create table top settings to enhance the unique beauty of each pattern.
The press release for the event said “Wedgwood believes that an empty table is like a blank canvas; it can inspire brilliant creativity and free the spirit of self- expression. As the design of our tables show, the rigid rules of formal entertaining can be relaxed to make special occasions feel warm and intimate. Wedgwood patterns can therefore be styled for a range of moods --- and always with great imagination and individual flair.”
The inspiration for “Nantucket Basket” was the Nantucket Lightship Basket, which is the most recognizable symbol of this lovely island off the coast of Massachusetts. Wedgwood captured the true essence of the 'Lightship' basket in a distinctive, embossed white bone china pattern.
The woven texture of the china's border is reminiscent of a picnic basket one might tote along on a sunny afternoon at the beach. A centerpiece from Wedgwood's Nautilus Collection is filled with hydrangeas, which burst into bloom come mid-summer. The centerpiece rests on a bed of sand and sea shells, and the grayish-blue cloth of moire hints of a glimmering waterside. Napkin rings with shells add a whimsical detail to complete the look.
"Sarah's Garden" features beautiful hand drawn illustrations of fruit and flowers on rich cream earthenware, evoking the Wedgwood family home in the heart of the English countryside. “Sarah” refers not to the Duchess of York, but to the wife of Wedgwood’s founder, an avid gardener. The pattern effectively included several botanical designs from Josiah Wedgwood's early sketchbooks.
The centerpiece is a miniature garden, with brightly colored blooms, a pretty trail of ivy, and delicate butterflies like those in the china's pattern. Linens compliment the sunny and relaxed country mood.