Collect Beautiful Portmeirion Dishes
I first became aware of Portmeirion pottery when I visited the village of Portmeirion in North Wales at the age of nineteen. I came to Britain from Canada for a year's stay and my Great Aunt and Uncle, who lived in North Wales, took me there for a visit.
We parked in an ordinary gravelled car park and then walked along a path passing ferns, bracken and hedgerows, typical to the area. We approached a pink gate, entered through and there was the village stretching out before us. It felt like entering a village somewhere in the south of Italy like Portofino. The houses had red tiled roofs and were painted in pinks, blues and yellows; there was a long fish pond and cobbled squares. I was enthralled and since then have been back many times.
There were a few shops there displaying Portmeirion china designed by Susan Williams-Ellis, the daughter of the creator of the village, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, I particularly liked the Botanic Garden pattern for the flower illustrations and started to collect the pattern after marrying in 1978. My husband, being a butterfly enthusiast, approved of the pattern because it included a few species of butterfly fluttering around the flowers. They were quite expensive to collect for a newly married couple who could only afford china from the supermarket so we would collect a plate here and a teacup there until we were able to invite friends for a meal served in style on our beautiful Botanic Garden china. Later, I noticed that a good friend of mine started to collect the same pattern and then I noticed more and more people discovering its beauty.
My mother-in-law's collection goes back even further and includes several rare pieces with the early grey-green rim. She also collected the 'Birds Of Britain' series which featured bird illustrations by the famous bird illustrator E. Donovan who thrived in the late 1700s. We have a few pieces given to us by my mother-in-law and we found a little pot in the same series in a charity shop in Wales. I have included a display of some of our collection at the end of this hub.
Portmeirion teapots, plates, mugs and more can be purchased at Amazon.co.uk. I hope you find the item that you are looking for.
The Village Of Portmeirion
The Village Of Portmeirion in North Wales
Clough Williams-Ellis knew from a very early age that he wanted to create a place of his own unique design at his own chosen site. This dream stayed with him and sustained him through the horrors of World War I while he served in the forces. He wished for a place of peace and refuge away from the insanity of the world but he didn't know where he would find this place.
Following the war he sailed the coast of Britain looking for his ideal location only to find this ideal location five miles from his old home, Plas Brondanw. The location was called "Aber Iau", meaning "mouth of the passing tidal river" in Welsh, and then "Aberia", at the time Clough Williams-Ellis came to purchase the land for £20,000. He renamed it the much more romantic name of 'Portmeirion'. He chose the name because the "port" part means it is on the coast and the "meirion" is for it being located in the County of Merionethshire. As a trained architect and an avid environmentalist he saw it as a project that would challenge and fulfill him.
He was faced with cutting down a forest that blocked the view of the sea creating paths to encourage pleasant wanders, converting the mansion house into a hotel for visitors and renovating some cottages that stood on the site.
Portmeirion opened in 1926, although Williams-Ellis had only purchased the land the year previous, but work continued as many of the iconic buildings on the site were constructed until 1939. Then the next stage began in 1954 and continued in earnest until 1976 as he brought architecturally interesting buildings from all over Britain slated for demolition to the Portmeirion site. Clough Williams-Ellis called it "a home for fallen buildings". It has been an ongoing project of love and probably kept Clough Williams-Ellis alive as he saw the erection of the toll-gate at the age of 93.
A Tour Of Portmeirion
The cult series, 'The Prisoner', from the 1960s starrring Patrick McGoohan was filmed in Portmeirion. It was a perfect location with the beach and the Italianate village setting. "No.6", as McGoohan's character was known, was drugged in London and woke up in this improbable setting of coloured cottages, a Campanile, cobbled squares and little "golf cart-type" vehicles buzzing around. Escape was futile as those that tried to escape were enveloped by a massive white balloon-type object. I know it sounds a bit unbelievable and camp but, if you are able to find and watch a few episodes I think you will be hooked. Then again it could be like marmite, you either love it or hate it.
Susan Ellis-Williams, an artist, and the daughter of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, with her husband Euan Cooper-Willis took over the management of the village of Portmeirion and also two dilapidated potteries in Stoke-On-Trent. Her first pattern was Botanic Garden based on 19th century flower/butterfly illustrations and then she added other patterns as she became inspired through her research and travels. Her aim was to make affordable and functional pottery for all which she accomplished, although some of the patterns have become quite collectable and pricey.
Portmeirion Botanic Garden Teapot - 1.1 Litre Size teapot
Botanic Garden Teapot
Portmeirion Botanic Garden Large Teapot 1.1lt
Photo courtesy of Amazon
This example, made in England, is typical of the Portmerion style. Features flowers and usually two or more butterflies and the latin names for the flowers. There is an older cylindrical design but this much more shows off the graceful curves of an English teapot.
Other Botanic Garden Teapots
Enjoy your cup of tea brewed in a Portmeirion Teapot.
The centrepiece of any collection, the Portmeirion teapot is a beautiful thing to behold.
Portmeirion Botanic Garden Breakfast Mug
For some the heart of the collection, the mug that holds the brew that satisfies.
Botanic Garden Mug
Portmeirion Botanic Garden Breakfast Mug BUY NOW
The violets are a popular flower but the mug does come in many designs so that you build a nice varied collection. Other mugs have a rounded shape and conical shape, there is even a bulbous version more like a tankard.
Other Botanic Garden Breakfast Mugs
Enjoy a cup of tea. It tastes better in a Portmeirion Mug.
The variety of mugs is quite extensive and you can become very attached to a particular shape.
Portmeirion Botanic Garden 10" Dinner PlateBUY NOW
There are at least four plate sizes from 4" to 10" with choices of Clematis, African Lily, Lily Flowered Azalea, Sweet Pea, Foxglove, Pink Parrot Tulip. They are all dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe.
Other Botanic Garden Dishes
Enjoy your dinner. It tastes better on a Portmeirion Plate.
Here are some other plates that you can buy on Amazon.co.uk. Have a look and see what other designs there are so that you can build up and interesting set.
Portmeirion Botanic Garden - (20cm) 8" Side Plates - Set of 6BUY NOW
Our Portmeirion Collection
Portmeiron plates, mugs, jugs and dishes
As I mentioned before, our own Portmeirion collection is extensive but here is a sample of some of the pieces that we own. I haven't mentioned the jug but you can see it at the middle of the display and is exceeding cute.
What Is Your Favourite Portmeirion Pattern?
Where can I find Portmeirion Pottery?
Portmeirion pottery may be found in most large department stores but can also on Amazon, Ebay and at www.etsy.com/market/susan_williams_ellis.
If you are fortunate enough to live somewhere near Portmeirion you can buy directly from the shops there, one being a second-hand shop, or in nearby Porthmadog but there is a website you may find interesting: www.portmeirion.co.uk
Thank you for stopping by; I would love to hear your Portmeirion story.
Karen on May 16, 2016:
I collected Birds of Britain 35 years ago. My large family have used the beautiful collection every Easter and Christmas Day since, in South Australia. Thanks for your interesting site!
tessel on August 09, 2012:
I like them all, I started collecting Botanic Garden, but now I have Pomona and Birds of Britain as well, but we mainly use Botanic Garden
Marc from Edinburgh on July 20, 2012:
I really like the very first one. Not really my taste, but would make a fab gift :)
hartworks lm on July 18, 2012:
Which is my favorite? Ha, can't decide! They are all lovely.
Angela F from Seattle, WA on July 18, 2012:
Lovely page. The violas are my fav.
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on July 18, 2012:
Portmeirion Dishes are so beautiful. I like all the designs but I think Botanical Garden is my favorite
Terrie_Schultz on July 18, 2012:
These are all gorgeous!