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From Barbury to Bloomsbury: how we name our designs

From Barbury to Bloomsbury: how we name our designs

What’s in a name? Well, at Neptune, it turns out rather a lot. Almost all the designs in our collection have a story behind their name. Some pay homage to people who have influenced what we do (such as our Terence tray table, named for Terence Conran), others nod to favourite places (like Lewes, Greenwich and Harrogate) or those that inspired the design (as with our chrome and glass Manhattan collection), while a few have historical connections (like Thaxted, a centre for cutlery production in the Middle Ages and the name of one of our cutlery sets). Here, we’ve gathered together just a few (more) of the tales our products have to tell.


Our newest tile design, created in collaboration with Marlborough Tiles, pays homage to a shared local landmark of ours. Barbury Castle – an ancient hill fort – lies roughly in between our own Wiltshire home and that of Marlborough Tiles. It’s a pretty spectacular walk if you’re in the area – park up at Hackpen Hill, just above the white horse, before walking along the Ridgeway (which lays claim to being Britain’s oldest road) for about half an hour or so. Barbury Hill is unmistakeable on top of its hill. Climb to the top to be rewarded with panoramic views.


Our oak and woven cord Wycombe collection is named for High Wycombe, a town nestled in the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire. High Wycombe has a long history of furniture – and especially chair – making stretching back to the 1700s, and by 1875 was the centre of chair making in the country, producing around 4,700 chairs a day. A fitting namesake for a collection that began with a humble dining chair.


The Suffolk dining chairs and bar stools take both their name and their design from the Suffolk ball-back chair – a style developed in East Anglia from the 18th century that’s as classic today as Windsor, Shaker and ladder-back styles. From the chair, the Suffolk collection went on to include everything from tables and dressers to kitchen cabinetry, all with the same pared-back sense of style and, very often, that signature ball motif.


Festooned in twining oak leaves, our Garrick chandelier and wall light are named for David Garrick, an 18th-century actor and author of the lyrics to ‘Heart of Oak’ – the Royal Navy’s official march. Set to music by composer William Boyce, the chorus goes like this:

Heart of oak are our ships, heart of oak are our men;
We always are ready, steady, boys, steady!
We’ll fight and we’ll conquer again and again.

As well as being linked to Garrick’s oak leaves, the naming is also a subtle nod to our founders’ love of sailing and our ethos that furniture should be ‘as safe as boats, not houses’.  


There was a whole host of suitably watery names in the running for our traditional tap and bathroom accessories collection, but in the end it was Bamburgh – one of Northumberland’s most picturesque beaches – that won out. If you’re yet to visit, expect huge stretches of pristine sand, plenty of dunes for exploring, and the striking sight of Bamburgh Castle atop its mound as the background.

Imogen Holkham Sand

And to another favourite beach, and another of the east coast’s most beautiful spots. The pale neutral colourway of our Imogen fabric is of course named after Holkham beach in North Norfolk. An entirely perfect namesake for our light and summery washed linen.


A lamp made from a series of stacking spheres couldn’t be a more perfect piece to name after the 20th-century collection of artists, writers and thinkers that made up the Bloomsbury Group, who were big fans of circles as a decorative motif.

Tags: Features