Portmeirion Pottery

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Portmeirion (pottery)
Private company
Industry Pottery
Founded 1960
Founder Susan Williams-Ellis & Euan Cooper-Willis
Headquarters Stoke-on-Trent, England
Website http://www.portmeirion.co.uk/

Portmeirion is a British pottery company based in Stoke-on-Trent.

History[edit]

Portmeirion Pottery was founded in 1960 when pottery designer Susan Williams-Ellis (daughter of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, who created the Italian style Portmeirion Village in North Wales, which was used as the setting[1] for the cult British television show "The Prisoner" that ran from 1966-1967) and her husband, Euan Cooper-Willis took over a small pottery decorating company in Stoke-on-Trent called A. E. Gray Ltd.. Susan Williams-Ellis had been working with A.E. Gray for some years, commissioning designs to sell at the gift shop in Portmeirion Village, the items bearing the backstamp "Gray's Pottery Portmeirionware". In 1961 the couple purchased a second pottery company, Kirkhams Ltd, that had the capacity to manufacture pottery, and not only decorate it. These two businesses were combined and Portmeirion Potteries was born.

Susan Williams-Ellis' early Portmeirion designs include Malachite (1960), Moss Agate (1961) and Talisman (1962).[2] In 1963 Susan created the popular Totem, an abstract pattern based in primitive forms coupled with a cylindrical shape.

'Mayflower' commemorative tankard

Susan Williams-Ellis later created Magic City (1966) and Magic Garden (1970), but arguably Portmeirion's most recognised design is the Botanic Garden range, decorated with a variety of floral illustrations adapted from Thomas Green's Universal or-Botanical, Medical and Agricultural Dictionary. (1817). It was launched in 1972 and, with new designs added periodically, is still made today,[3] the most successful ceramics series of botanical subjects.[4] More recent designs have included Sophie Conran's Crazy Daisy and Dawn Chorus.

On 23 April 2009 Portmeirion Potteries Ltd purchased Royal Worcester and Spode brands, after they had been placed into administration the previous November. Portmeirion Potteries has since changed its company name to Portmeirion Group to reflect this acquisition.[5] The purchase did not include Royal Worcester and Spode's manufacturing facilities. The manufacture of much of Spode's ware was returned to Britain from the Far East, to the Portmeirion Group's factory in Stoke-on-Trent.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Portmeirion#The Prisoner
  2. ^ http://www.retrowow.co.uk/retro_style/ceramics/portmeirion/portmeirion.php
  3. ^ Jenkins & Mckay Portmeirion Pottery (2000)
  4. ^ "Botanic Garden" is no. 5 in "Appendix A: 100 Most Popular Patterns" listed from the records of Replacements.com and illustrated in Shax Riegler. 2011. Dish: 813 Colorful, Wonderful Dinner Plates pp256ff.
  5. ^ David Johnson, Article in The Staffordshire Sentinel on 16.12.10, The Sentinel
  6. ^ "Stoke kilns fired up for Spode again". Staffordshire Sentinel (Nortchliffe). 2009-04-24. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Jenkins, Stephen, & Mckay, Stephen 2000. Portmeirion Pottery. Richard Dennis. ISBN 0-903685-78-7.

External links[edit]