Anyone with an interest in mid-century ceramics should be familiar with the distinctive style of  vintage Portmeirion ceramics from Stoke-on-Trent in the UK.


Photo from the photostream of A30yoyo

This year, the famous UK pottery is celebrating its 50th birthday, and to mark the occasion, they have released the Portmeirion Originals – a limited edition range of ceramics featuring their most popular designs from the last half-century.

My favourite of these is the coffeepot and mug set below. Sold in a limited edition of just 500 pieces, the Magic Garden Graphite design is inspired by Portmeirion’s late founder  Susan Williams-Ellis’s pencil sketch for the original 1970 Magic Garden design, shown on the left of the picture above.


The pottery started in principle when Susan Williams-Ellis, the daughter of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis (creator of the Portmeirion Village) and her husband Euan Cooper-Willis took over Gray’s Pottery in 1960 and Kirkham’s Pottery a year later – renamed and marketed as The Portmeirion Potteries Ltd in 1962. It was during this period of the 1960’s that some of Susan Williams-Ellis’ most famous shapes and designs were created – Totem, Cypher and Jupiter (1963), Samarkand, Greek Key (1965), Magic City (1966) to name just a few – it is this particular period of manufacture that primarily interests us – post 1970’s production being generally more restrained and not quite so eccentric in shape and design. In 1967 Euan helped establish Dartington Glass – with Portmeirion handling the distribution of their Frank Thrower designed glass.