24th May 2017

Portmeirion: Italianate Fantasy Village in Wales

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 1940s it had become the playground of artists, aristocrats and intellectuals. Regular visitors included H G Wells, Bertrand 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.

Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams trained as an art and architectural historian before undertaking postgraduate museum studies. He now lectures on the subject of nineteenth and twentieth century design for universities and museums, the National Trust, the Victorian Society, the Furniture History Society and many others. A recognised expert in the work of the designer William Burges, he has been the Curator of Cardiff Castle for over 25 years 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.