Portmeirion: A Welsh Italianate fantasy

Matthew Williams

Wednesday 18th April 2018

Portmeirion is an extraordinary surprise; a colourful and delightful fantasy village on the coast of north Wales.   Created from the 1920s by the remarkable architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.

Portmeirion was his personal defiance against the advance of modernism and what he saw as the despoilment of Britain. By the 1950s it had become the playground of artists, intellectuals, aristocrats and the merely rich. Regular visitors included H G Wells, Bertand Russell and Noel Coward (who wrote Blithe Spirit at Portmeirion).

Sir Clough’s daughter Susan created Portmeirion Pottery, which during the 1960s and 70s, was synonymous with cutting-edge ceramic style. This lecture looks at the place, its architecture and associations. Matthew also draws on some personal memories, as his uncle was Resident Director of Portmeirion for 30 years.

Lectures widely on the subject of design, and is especially interested in that of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A recognised expert in the work of the designer William Burges, he has been the Curator of Cardiff Castle since 1990 and has published widely in art and architectural journals. A long standing member of NADFAS, Matthew has been a Volunteers Representative, a Programme Secretary and a Chairman. He has been a NADFAS Lecturer since 2001.