The Enchanted Garden


In 1997 Portmeirion wrote in their Collectors Letter: “Looking at the Portmeirion Potteries range, one clear absence was something for children. The next thought was: could we entice some fairies into the Botanic Garden? Well, thinking about fairies, the obvious book was one which belonged to Susan’s Grandmother and which Susan had loved so much when she was small.”


“Here were fairies in their natural habitat, real true fairies, not saccharine 20th century fairies, there were some by no means good and sweet, who enjoyed mischief and were not necessarily well-behaved.”


“This book, illustrated by Richard Doyle, a nephew of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, was published in 1870 and used a new woodblock method, rather than hand watercolouring to colour plates.”


“We are so pleased with the result,” Portmeirion wrote, “a pattern of which children will not get bored, interesting pictures with always something new to be found in them.”


“There are four sets in beautiful full coloured boxes, just the thing for new additions to the family, and good boys and girls on birthdays, and at Christmas.”


The book had served as an inspiration to Susan in the early sixties, when some illustrations had been engraved for use on nurseryware:


Here is the illustration from the book, with an old plate and a new cup:


In spite of the enthusiastic language at the launch, the range only lasted from 1997 till 1999. A pity, it is still a special range, with all the fairies and animals, and it is fun to read the book, and to look at the pictures and then see the pictures back on the cups and dishes, such as here:




Ofcourse we now have the Very Hungry Caterpillar, but maybe it is time for a new Portmeirion childrens range with some new mischievous fairies.