Conservation of four objects Susan Williams-Ellis Foundation Ceramics Collection
Conservation repairs to four items, from the early period and formation of the Portmeirion Pottery founded by artist/designer Susan Williams-Ellis (6 June 1918 – 26 November 2007), from the Foundations ceramics collection.
Susan Williams-Ellis, daughter of the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, had established herself as an artist designer having contributed to the Festival Of Britain, but is best known as a pottery designer and for establishing the now world renowned Portmeirion Pottery. Her father is best recognised as the creator of the Italianate village of Portmeirion and initially Susan started designing ceramic giftware for tourists and visitor to this attraction eventually leading her and her husband to set up a pottery based in Stoke on Trent. The earliest items were being produced for Portmeirion by Kirkhams in Stoke on Trent, who also produced items for the medical profession among which were Leech Jars which Susan took a liking to. The Kirkham’s pottery was eventually purchased, and renamed Portmeirion Pottery.
Two of the objects were from the Kirkhams period, the first being a lidded urn shaped leech jar with a broken handle. There were also previous repairs to the other handle and mismatched overpainting.
the second item, also a leech jar, a cylindrical vessel with a perforated lid. It also had a broken handle. There was also a considerable accumulation of dirt, particularly within the perforations of the lid.
The third item was a biscuit fired prototype modelled for the a Portmeirion Pottery range called “Volterra”. The unusual ribbed shape being the feature of this range of tableware. It seems likely this prototype went on the become the body of the Volterra tea/coffee pot that went into production. The item had a section from the side of the spherical base of the pot that had broken away, with a number of fracture cracks in the body and the stem. Being a biscuit unglazed body there was also ingrained dirt affecting the whole exterior.
The fourth item was the lid of a tall cylindrical coffee pot with a broken finial.
All have been cleaned and repaired to display standard and all treatments being reversible.