Tag Archives: Virgin’s Bower

Portmeirionlore: Botanic Garden Bread and Butter Plates

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There were six original 7 inch Bread and Butter plates in the Botanic Garden range, when it was launched in 1972:

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They were the Spanish Gum Cistus, the Trailing Bindweed, the Meadow Saffron, the Citron, the Daisy and the Barbados Aloe.

Most motifs were from The Universal Herbal, by Thomas Green,  published ca. 1820:

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The Meadow Saffron, here seen with the original:

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The Trailing Bindweed has differences in the position of the lettering:

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At one point the Trailing Bindweed had a butterfly change, the colorful old butterfly was replaced by a yellow and blue one:

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The oldest versions of the Bread and Butter plates have the script writing, later versions have other lettering:

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Here is the original set with the newer lettering:

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Very soon there was a seventh motif on the Bread and Butter plates, the Spring Gentian:

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Spring Gentians now are rare and hard to find. A pity, it is such a lovely motif, with its small, bright blue flowers.

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Later Bread and Butter plates were

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the Ivy Leafed Cyclamen, the Barbados Cotton Flower, the Blue Primrose, Snow-Drop and Crocus, the Pansy, the Fuchsia, the Small Narcissus, the Rhododendron and the Barbados Cotton Flower.

As can be seen, there are two versions of the Barbados Cotton Flower, one with three flowers and one with two:IMG_4319

There are also two versions of the Snow-Drop and Crocus, he older one being lighter, whereas the newer version has darker colours:

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On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Botanic Garden special sets were for sale, comprising of one cup and saucer and one bread and butter plate:

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There were two different plates, the Snow-Drop and Crocus and the Small Narcissus. They had the special anniversary backstamp:

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And here is my latest, the Arborea:

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There are several motifs that occur not only on Bread and Butter plates, but also on Salad Plates, or on Dinner Plates, or on all three, such as the Pink Parrot Tulip :

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There are more such sets of three;

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They are the Flowered Chrysanthemum, the Virgins Bower, the Christmas Rose, The Honeysuckle and the Asiatic Magnolia.

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Here are a few sets of Dinner Plates with Bread and Butter plates, the Lily Flowered Azalea, the African Lily and the Sweet Pea:

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These are Salad Plate motifs on Bread and Butter Plates, the Garden Lilac, the Treasure Flower, the Dog Rose and the Eastern Hyacinth:

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There were Bread and Butter plates without the Botanic Garden leaf border, here are the Trailing Bindweed, (new version) the Pansy, the Blue Primrose and the Fuchsia:

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There is a Millennium Bread and Butter plate:

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Portmeirion have the Botanic Roses range, one of the roses is the Portmeirion Rose:

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Other sets of Botanic Garden Bread and Butter plates are the Flowers of the Month.They are: January – Snowdrop, February – Sweet Violet, March – Wild Daffodil, April – Primula, May – Bluebell, June – Dog Rose, July – Pinks, August – Pansy, September – Aster, October – Dahlia, November – Bell Heather, December – Hellebore:

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The Botanic Birds. They are the Chickadee, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Baltimore Oriole,  Scarlet Tanager, Lesser Goldfinch and Western Bluebird:

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and the Exotic Botanic Garden: Bird of Paradise, Moth Orchid,  Winged Passion Flower,  Hawaiian Hibiscus,  Dragonfly , Red Ginger and White Waterlily:

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And this one, a do-it-yourself plate perhaps?

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Portmeirionlore: Botanic Garden Salad Plates

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When the Botanic Garden range was launched in 1972 these were the original 8 inch salad plates:

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They are the Water Melon, the Night Flowering Cactus, the Dog Rose, the Red Pepper, the Eastern Hyacinth and the Woody Nightshade. These motifs also appeared on the original 13 inch platters. They have all been retired now. I am very fond of the dark reds, greens and browns, the insects  and the almost scary flowers of these early motifs.

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Some of the original salad motifs had two versions, such as the Eastern Hyacinth, first with brown butterflies and then blue ones:

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And the Woody Nightshade, originally with a dark brown butterfly and a huge bumble bee:

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There is a double version of the Spanish Gum Cistus, a motif that appeared on the soup plates and the bread and butter plates:

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The double Spanish Gum Cistus looks really well on a salad plate:

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The Cistus later appeared in a pink version, the Purple Rock Rose:

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The Slender Columbine also has two versions:

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In 1981 a special series of salad plates was commissioned by Bloomingdales in New York. 250 plates with the Eastern Hyacinth and 250 with the Dog Rose , all with a gold leaf border, were specially produced. Mine has the Eastern Hyacinth:

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The backside has a special backstamp for the osccasion:

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More salad plates :

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The Treasure Flower, the Sweet William, the Belladonna Lily, the Purple Rock Rose, the Blue Iris and the Garden Lilac. Of these, the Treasure Flower was the pink version of the African Daisy, one of the original dinner plate motifs:

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The Garden Lilac appeared on a millennium plate in 2000:

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A few salad plates, including the Garden Lilac,  were also produced without the Botanic Garden leaf border:

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the Blue Iris, the Eastern Hyacinth and the Sweet William:

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Other salad plate motifs are the Poppy, introduced in 2014,

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the Pink Parrot Tulip and the Hydrangea :

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The Blue Hydrangea plates:

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Botanic Garden has a range of Christmas plates called Mistletoe:

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In 1998 Portmeirion introduced Options, a new addition to the Botanic Garden range, complementary pieces that can mix and match with existing Botanic Garden items.

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As a collector I thought I should have at least one Options plate in my collection, here it is:

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The new Exotic Botanic Garden range also has the 8 inch salad plates, featuring the Hawaiian Hibiscus, the Moth Orchid, the White Waterlily,the Red Ginger, the Bird of Paradise and the Dragonfly:

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And the Botanic Birds also have salad plates. They are the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Baltimore Oriole, Chickadee, Lesser Goldfinch, Western Bluebird,  and Scarlet Tanager:

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In the last few years several dinner plate motifs have also appeared on salad plates, such as the Shrubby Peony, the Christmas Rose, the Foxglove and the Virgins Bower:

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Here are the Asiatic Magnolia, the Flowered Chrysanthemum and the Honeysuckle:

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A special range of 8 inch plates was produced in the nineties, the Christmas Plates:

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Starting in 1993 with the Christmas Rose, followed by the Shrubby Peony, the Flowered Chrysanthemum, the Virgins Bower, the Blue Passion Flower, the Honeysuckle, the Lily Flowered Azalea

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and the last one, in 2000, the Sweet William:

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The Butterflies were specially made for the USA:

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The Daisy usually appears on soup plates and bread and butter plates:

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Here is a rare example of an 8 inch salad plate in the Ladies Flower Garden range with a Botanic Garden leaf border:

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The following plates have the Botanic Garden leaf border with Pomona motifs, the Roman Apricot and the Late Duke Cherry:

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The following plates have a Variations motif combined with a Botanic Garden leaf border:

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These salad plates have different shapes:

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and there is this one

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Portmeirionlore: Botanic Garden Dinner Plates

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The Botanic Garden range appeared in 1972. First there was a coffee set and a few months later Portmeirion proudly presented the dinner service. Here are the original six dinner plates: Mexican Lily, Blue Passion Flower, Venus Fly Trap, Manchineel Tree, African Daisy and Yellow Crown Imperial.

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All early plates come with the beautiful first Botanic Garden backstamp:

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They were a magnificent set of dinnerplates:

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The African Daisy, here seen with some African Daisies in the background, was the first flower that Susan Williams-Ellis put on a dinner plate for the Botanic Garden dinner service.

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The Mexican Lily, with the dark butterflies.

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The Manchineel Tree , with the dark greens and browns.

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The Blue Passion Flower, a Botanic Garden classic.

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The majestic Yellow Crown Imperial.

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The Venus Fly Trap with the crawly insects.

There were all sorts of variations in motifs and lettering.  This is the Yellow Crown Imperial, with and without the green border. The top one has the newer lettering.

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The African Daisy had an early version with brown butterflies. Later versions show the yellow and green butterflies,  a dragonfly was also added.

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The Mexican Lily also had changes in butterflies. There are even three different butterfly variations, from the early dark butterflies, then the spectacular pink butterflies and finally the greenish one, matching with the bulb. As with all the plates, the lettering changed a few times.

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There were sets of six dinner plates and apart from that  there was one 13 inch platter. It had the Blue Passion Flower motif with three large flowers instead of two on the dinner plates:

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A later version of this 13 inch platter had an extra butterfly:

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From here my pictures of the dinner plates are not all in chronological order. Hera are: Royal Highness,  Flowered Chrysanthemum, African Lily, Honeysuckle, Shrubby Peony and Christmas Rose.

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The Christmas Rose has always been one of my favourites:

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There are two versions of the Honeysuckle, the older one with sturdy brown colours, and a newer pink version. There seems to be a mix up in the Latin name as well.

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In the following picture the Honeysuckle, Virgin’s Bower, Rhododendron, Sweet Pea, Asiatic Magnolia, Lily Flowered Azalea

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The Sweet Pea, with some Sweet Peas:

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The Asiatic Magnolia also has two versions, one with a blue butterfly:

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Portmeirion keep producing new motifs, such as the Foxglove, Sunflower, Poppy (new in 2014), Hydrangea (new in in 2012, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Botanic Garden), Pink Parrot Tulip and Arborea

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The Hydrangea plates are among my favourites:

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Exotic Botanic Garden is another recent range, featuring the Hawaiian Hibiscus, Moth Orchid, White Waterlily,Red Ginger, Bird of Paradise, Dragonfly and Winged Passion Flower. They really are an exotic lot of plates, very colourful, with lovely flowers.

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A dinnerplate made for the Korean market looks very much like the Hawaiian Hibiscus, it features the Rose of Sharon:

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This is an older motif, the White Gum Cistus, rarely seen on dinnerplates.

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The White Gum Cistus was originally seen on soup plates and bread and butter plates. There is a double version that occurs on early salad plates:

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At Portmeirion they are very good at what-iffing, here are some trials with salad plate motifs on dinner plates, the Fuchsia,  Ivy Leafed Cyclamen, Belladonna Lily, Blue Iris and Dog Rose.

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When Susan Williams-Ellis died in 2007 the company honoured her life with the return of one of the earlier motifs, the Meadow Saffron, on a dinner plate.

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Here is a rare dinnerplate withe the Botanic Garden border and a Ladies Flower Garden motif.

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In 1980 the Mexican Lily appeared on a specially made plate:

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There is a version with green lettering and one with pink letters:

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The Collectors Club was presented with a hand-painted version of the Christmas Rose in 1993. There is no longer a collectors club now, and  no new Collectors Letters have appeared for a long time, which is a pity.

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The Year 2000 and the new millennium  were celebrated by a new plate with the Millennium Rose:

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Portmeirion designed a series of four Birds of America. My plates have the Botanic Garden leafed border:

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They are the Mallard, the Pintail, the Bobwhite Quail and the Ruffed Grouse.

I am not quite sure whether the Botanic Birds are part of the Botanic Garden range, or whether they should be classified as Birds of Britain. Anyway, I put the dinner plates here. They are the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Baltimore Oriole, Chickadee, Lesser Goldfinch, Western Bluebird,  and Scarlet Tanager. Lovely birds, on dinnerplates with the Botanic Garden Border.

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And there’s always this one:

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