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.

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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.

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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.