Bertioli and Bell Hutley have collaborated to launch a range of tableware inspired by a shared love of nature, in particular a shared desire to tell the story of nature’s pollinators and to celebrate their magic.
This collection of limited edition tableware – table linen, napkins, napkin rings, placemats, trays and tumblers – illustrated by Bell Hutley and Caryn Hibbert and designed by Milly Hibbert, celebrates the vital partnerships between flora and fauna.
“Nature is our muse. It is a source of constant inspiration.”
“Nature is a careful balance, an intricate nexus of relationships between plants, fungi, insects, and animals, supporting one another in the equilibrium of life. It is also true that the wellbeing of mankind is inextricably linked to that of the natural world. In recent years, the fragility of nature has been put at the forefront of conversation, with species decline and habitat loss at its heart.
“One of the key concerns has been around the health of pollinators and the crucial role that they play in every ecosystem. With this collaborative collection, we bring together the distinctive illustrations by Bell and Caryn to celebrate pollinators and highlight their relationships with both common and unique plant life to inspire conversation around the table and a deeper connection to nature.”
This statement is true for both Bell Hutley and Caryn & Milly Hibbert, the mother & daughter duo behind Bertioli.
Bell’s illustrations of key pollinators were used as inspiration for Caryn to paint botanical habitats designed to complement and embrace each species; a forest of intricate nettles for the Tiger Moth, Sea Buckthorn for a Brimstone Butterfly and a pond of Water Lilies for the ethereal Dragonfly.
“Bertioli’s mission is to consolidate the idea that in nurturing nature, we nurture ourselves.”—Caryn Hibbert
It is a truism that the most successful collaborations are ones in which both parties have a clear understanding and appreciation of where the other is coming from. And it’s especially true of this well-timed collaboration, given how with spring comes a burning desire to refresh, redecorate and rejuvenate. So back to the task at hand, and let’s take a closer look at the intricate nexus of nature that has inspired this collection.
Stinging Nettle & Tiger Moth
Moths are often brushed-aside with their home-invader connotations. However, only two of the 2500 species of moth in the UK are guilty of wrecking wardrobes!
The rest play a vital role as a food source for birds and other animals and as overnight pollinators. They also compete on the beauty scale, coming in a fabulous array of luminous colours and entrancing shapes.
The Tiger Moth is a superb example, with bright orange hindwings hidden under a fabulous pair of animal print forewings. Tiger Moths reside up and down the country, favouring damp meadows and open woodlands as well as gardens to call their home.
Tiger Moth caterpillars eat several herbaceous plants, particularly choosing the common stinging nettle. Sadly, moth populations have crashed in the last 40 years, with the Garden Tiger Moth populations in Britain dropping by 92% since 1968.
This decline has lasting impacts on the wider ecosystem. Not only are moths critical pollinators for wildflowers such as orchids, but the drop in moth populations is also connected to declines in the number of other species, such as bats and cuckoos, both of which can be found at Thyme.
Cuckoos specialise in eating hairy caterpillars. And with the Tiger Moth caterpillar lovingly named the ‘woolly bear’, it is a delicacy. This creation has been inspired by the special relationship between tiger moths and the common nettle and the fundamental role they play in nature.
Water Lily & Dragonfly
Shimmery, ethereal creatures, Dragonflies are an ancient insect. Found on every continent, except Antarctica, dragonflies are estimated to have first appeared around 300 million years ago.
The nymphs are aquatic, residing in several freshwater habitats such as bogs, rivers, and ponds. And as adults, dragonflies never fly far from water, their presence indicating a fairly unpolluted habitat.
However, their dependence on these wetlands has left dragonflies at risk; the world lost 35% of its wetlands between 1970 and 2015. Although some sites are being restored, the rate of loss still appears to be increasing due to urbanisation and unsustainable agriculture.
Wetlands are prime habitats for many plants, birds, animals and insects. You can see dragonflies dancing on the river that runs through the farm at Thyme and on the pond in the garden. The dragonflies love the water lilies as a birthing place.
With this design, Bertioli and Bell Hutley have created a pond habitat on the tabletop, with the dragonflies dancing around the edge. And on top with the tumbler and placemat accessories.
Sea Buckthorn & Brimstone Butterfly
As well as being an iconic and beautiful part of Britain’s wildlife, butterflies are incredibly crucial pollinators and sensitive indicators of the health of the environment.
The butterfly that has inspired us with this collection is the spectacular Brimstone, their distinctive leaf-shaped wings a beautiful milky green on the females and a dashing bright yellow on the males. They are interesting as they are the longest-lived of all British Butterflies, surviving for up to 12 months.
There are several plants which this butterfly needs to be successful: buckthorn for breeding, nectar plants such as wild sweet pea and runner bean for feeding, and shrubs such as holly and ivy for hibernation.
While butterfly populations across the UK are in decline, the brimstone butterfly is, in fact, a success story. At Thyme, they started to notice an influx of brimstone butterflies when their newly planted native orchard hedge went in, complete with the silvery green hues of sea buckthorn.
Buckthorn is essential to the breeding of brimstone butterflies, being its larval food plant. As noted on the Plant Wild website, “Buckthorns are great for attracting a range of wildlife to the garden, as the pollen is useful for many insects, including bees, and the berries are a winter food source for birds.”
This pair, the Brimstone and Buckthorn, is just one example of how crucial specific plants are for particular butterflies, with some entire species reliant on sometimes just one larval food plant.
Bell Hutley is a London-based artist and designer. Bell is known for her darkly romantic aesthetic, whimsical illustrations and arresting use of colour inspired by nature, children’s literature and folklore. Since launching her namesake brand in 2018, Bell Hutley has striven to tell stories through her bold and fierce designs. Her creations are like works of art – to keep and treasure for years to come. Her collections are available to buy via her website, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols, Chairish, and The Goldbourne Shop, amongst others.
A Mother and Daughter team, Bertioli is the sibling brand of Thyme. Inspired by nature, Caryn and Milly Hibbert design simple, beautiful products for everyday living that inspire a connection to the land and nourish both people and the planet. The range includes Homeware, Womenswear, Interiors, Breathing and Beauty.
Thyme is a haven of restorative calm. Nestled in the heart of the Cotswold village of Southrop, this quintessentially English country destination is an enclosed collection of restored 17th-century farm buildings, houses and cottages. Together with the Ox Barn restaurant, this ‘village within a village’ comprises the Baa bar; Meadow Spa; pool & botanical bothy; boutiques selling Bertioli by Thyme silkwear, tableware & beauty products; cookery school; farm, kitchen gardens, orchards and water meadows; cottages for private hire and the stunning Tithe Barn for events and exhibitions.