Magpie {13}

Moulded and glazed earthenware coffee cup by Susan Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion Pottery, 1963

Last weekend I went on a jaunt around a few places in Aberdeenshire. One of these was Nina’s Apartment, a small retro shop that I’ve been meaning to visit for months. I came away with this little coffee cup. To be honest it’s wasn’t the colour that caught my eye, but the quirkiness of the shape and pattern. It’s not valuable but I did a little research to discover more about it, as curiosity got the better of me. It’s strange how the smallest of things can have such fascinating history caught up in them…

I already knew that it was designed by Susan Williams-Ellis (1918-2007), and that it would have been part of a set with coffee pot, milk jug, sugar bowl, cups and saucers. It was manufactured in Stoke-on-Trent, the heart of the pottery industry in England. Susan was the eldest daughter of Clough Williams-Ellis, the architect who created the extraordinary village of Portmeirion in North Wales. She studied ceramics with Bernard Leach; was taught painting by Graham Sutherland, and sculpture by Henry Moore.


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