This beautifully graphic pattern consisting of bold geometric shapes is “Tivoli”, designed by Susan Williams-Ellis for Portmeirion in 1964. It was created on the striking “Serif” shape like many others by Ellis in the 1960s. The name “Tivoli” is a reference to the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, which inspired Ellis to create this pattern.
The design came in 2 colour schemes – chocolate brown and turquoise, and an olive green and turquoise. Originally the design was created in brighter colours – pink/blue and violet/grey/red – but Ellis was persuaded to go with the more subtle colour schemes.
Pictured is a storage jar from the series with its original lid – often now seen with cork lids.
Only in production for a few years as apparently it was not as successful as some of the other designs from Portmerion in the same era – although hard to see why!
I think this design is just magic. It is appropriately named Magic City. The design was inspired by exotic middle eastern inspired domed buildings, and always reminds me of this time of year with a festive look about the design with its use of colour and line which hint of fireworks, Christmas lights etc, as well as the domed buildings of the Middle East.
It was designed by Susan William-Ellis at Portmeirion Pottery in 1966, and has become one of the great British classics of the era. The forms were used in several series which Susan designed around this time – and the shape was called “Serif”. Serif refers to the shape of the handle – and is a reference to how a serif is used in typography/calligraphy to add flare to the end of a corner.
The Serif series of shapes was originally used on the Cypher and Jupiter patterns with a raised relief finish, but it is Magic City which became the most commercially successful. Magic Garden is another lovely design on the Serif series of shapes.
Of interest – if you are in or visiting London 2019 – there is an exhibition/display in the ceramics room 146 “Portmeirion – Pottery Trendsetter” until Sunday 28th July
Portmeirion Magic City Tea Cup
Portmeirion Magic City Plate
Portmeirion Magic City Coffee Pot