I once visited the amazing village of Portmeirion in Wales. It’s the most unusual tourist attraction I’ve ever been to. Sir Clough Williams-Ellis created the village in the style of Italian architecture. The bright pink and lemon buildings look very strange in the middle of the Welsh countryside. It’s layout is surreal and has been used as a location for many television programmes and movies, the most famous of which is the cult British series, The Prisoner. The village is a commercial enterprise with hotels and shops. Sir Clough’s daughter, Susan Williams-Ellis opened a gift shop and used her training to design a range of pottery. The most famous of her line in china is the Portmeirion Botanic Garden. This extensive range of tableware and kitchen items soon became collectables.
The design of the pottery is very elegant and even a mundane item such as a gravy boat carries a certain grace. There is a flower motif throughout the Portmeirion Botanic Garden range, reflecting the natural beauty of Portmeirion village. Flowers include Forget-Me-Not, Speedwell, Daisy, Pansy, Rhododendron and Cyclamen.
The china includes plates, bowls, mugs and cups and saucers. You can also buy glasses of different design, including Hi Balls, flutes, goblets and tumblers. There is a range of Portmeirion Botanic Garden kitchenware including a butter dish, souffl? dish, coffee pot, ramekin and flan dish. There is also a very pretty mustard pot and spoon and a pair of oil and vinegar bottles. Table settings come in a choice of round and square placemats and coasters.
Other accessories are not just for the table or kitchen. Portmeirion Botanic Garden also has a pot pourri bowl, a lotion dispenser, a watering can and a wide choice of vases. There is also a range of scented candles.
Susan Williams-Ellis has been designing her world famous pottery since the 1960s, turning the originals by hand. The Portmeirion Botanic Garden came out in 1972, and customers loved the practicality of the china as well as the good design. The Portmeirion company still put out new products, under the supervision of Williams-Ellis.
The pottery is an important part of why the village is such a tourist draw. Sir Clough was considered an eccentric and the locals thought he was nuts when they saw what he was constructing. His ideas turned out to be inspirational and his daughter carried on the family knack for innovation. Portmeirion Botanic Garden is her greatest contribution to the phenomenon in the Welsh hills.