---† DRAFT Ė NOT TO BE CITED WITHOUT AUTHORíS PERMISSION† ---
by Lester A. Ross
revised May 2012
This web site is devoted to the documentation of Portmeirionís Botanic Garden.† Its purpose is to catalogue the temporal periods for all patterns and their variations, makersí marks, font styles, and associated insects
The project began July 2009, and individual catalogues for each pattern and their motifs originally were posted on this web site as their initial drafts were completed.† However, because of the size of the files, the individual catalogues had to be removed due to a lack of online storage space available to the author. Instead, only small illustrations of each pattern and their motifs, makersí marks, font styles, and insects are now posted online. As of May 2012, all pattern motif catalogues were completed, and these 76 catalogues are available by emailing Lester Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catalogues produced by this project are the result of research into the correlation of Portmeirionís Botanic Garden makersí marks and patterns.† Thousands of associations of patterns and marks have been documented and compared to proposed temporal periods previously reported in existing publications (i.e., Jenkins and McKay 2000 and Portmeirionís web site).† For all associations of pattern motifs, makersí marks, font styles, insects, and green numbers, the author has retained photographic documentation.
Since Portmeirion continues to produce Botanic Garden patterns, and since new information regarding retired patterns occasionally becomes available, the final catalogues must be regarded as works-in-progress.† Most conclusions presented in these catalogues have withstood extensive evaluation.† However, some are based upon limited information, and will be re-evaluated and revised as new evidence becomes available. The latest dates for revisions are indicated at the end of each catalogue.
Previously Published Historical Documentation
Published works on the history of Botanic Garden patterns are limited, with one major work focusing on the history of Portmeirion, its major lines of patterns, including Botanic Garden, and a guide to the pattern motifs and a few of its makersí marks from 1972 to 1999 (Jenkins and McKay 2000).
For the Botanic Garden patterns, Jenkins and McKay (2000:111-112) provided a list of the patterns associated with the major ware types, indicating dates for the historical design which inspired the pattern, dates patterns were introduced, and dates and names of patterns that replaced them.† They also provided additional information regarding selected patterns throughout their book (Jenkins and McKay 2000:63-67, 76-81, 84, 87, 95-96).† Unfortunately, minimal evidence was provided to support their temporal conclusions.
A similar, but with somewhat different dates for a few patterns, also was published online at Portmeirionís web site at:
Occasionally, there are contradictions between Jenkins and McKayís and Portmeirionís temporal conclusions, and these dates were regarded as hypothetical until specific evidence was obtained to support or revise them.
Jenkins and McKay (2000:115-116) also provided illustrations and proposed dates for a few of the makersí marks, but again, provided no evidence to support these dates.† They also omitted common marks and variations which also can be dated.
Research into correlations between pattern variations and observed makersí marks has demonstrated that additional evidence now exists to propose revised temporal periods for patterns, their variations, and the complete range of makersí marks associated with these patterns
Major Temporal Revisions
The following revisions for previously reported temporal periods are based upon observed associations of pattern motifs and makersí marks.† Additional research yet to be undertaken includes correlating Portmeirionís dated brochures and catalogues with these newly hypothesized temporal periods.† For example, a web site for Portmeirion collectors has provided an illustration of a 1980 Portmeirion brochure at:
This 1980 brochure illustrates two Botanic Garden patterns which Jenkins and McKay (2000:112) and Portmeirion reported as discontinued in 1978: Canterbury Bells/Red Star and Orange Cactus.† This does not prove or disprove the dates the patterns were discontinued, but it does suggest that a discrepancy exists that must be evaluated by other evidence.
For now, patterns and their motifs which have been observed on wares with backstamps which were not used until 1982 but were reported to have been discontinued prior to that date include:
Canterbury Bells/Red Star, reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:112) to have been retired in 1978, but Canterbury Bells/Red Star 1 has been observed with BS2b82a, BS2b82b, and BS2bb82 shield backstamps which were introduced in 1982, and with a BS2b84 shield backstamp that was introduced in 1984; and Canterbury Bells 2 has been observed with BS2b82b shield backstamp that was introduced in 1982.
Citron 1, reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:111) to have been retired in 1978, but it has been observed with a BS2b82b shield backstamp that was introduced in 1982.
Orange Cactus 1, reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:112) to have been retired in 1978, but it has been observed with a BS2b82a shield backstamps that was introduced in 1982.
Orange Cactus 2, reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:112) to have been retired in 1978, but it has been observed with BS2b82a, BS2b82b, BS2bs18? shield backstamp that were introduced in 1982.
Orchid 1, reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:112) to have been retired in 1978, but it has been observed with BS2b82a, BSb82b, BS2ba, and BS4b shield backstamps that were introduced in 1982 and a BS2b84 shield backstamp that was introduced in 1984.
Orchid 2, reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:112) to have been retired in 1978, but it has been observed with BS2b82b and BS2ba shield backstamps that were introduced in 1982.
Purple Iris 1, reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:112) to have been retired in 1978, but it has been observed with BS2b82a, BS2ba, and BS2bs shield backstamps that were introduced in 1982.
Spring Gentian, reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:112) to have been retired in 1976, but it has been observed with BS2b82a, BS2b82b, and BS4b shield backstamps that were introduced in 1982 and BS2b84 shield backstamps that were introduced in 1984.
Water Melon 1, reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:111) to have been retired in 1980, but it has been observed with BS2b82b shield backstamps that were introduced in 1982.
Woody Nightshade 1, reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:111) to have been retired in retired in 1980, but is has been observed with BS2b82a shield backstamps that were introduced in 1982.
Woody Nightshade 2, reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:111) to have been retired in retired in 1994, but is has been observed with PO-1c2a shield backstamps that were introduced in 1999, and it appeared on a flared vase made for the Portmeirion Collectorsí Club in 2000.
Patterns which have been observed on wares without backstamps which came into use in 1982, but have been reported to have been retired after 1982 include:
Manchineel Tree appears to have been retired earlier (perhaps pre-1982) than its reported terminal date of 1983 based upon observations that no shield backstamps used from 1982 or later have been associated with it.
The Yellow Crown Imperial appears to have been retired earlier (perhaps pre-1982) than its reported terminal date of 1984 based upon observations that no shield backstamps used from 1982 or later have been associated with it.
One pattern, Broom, has been reported to have been introduced in 1985 (Jenkins and McKay 2000:112), but evidence exists that indicates that it was in use sometime during the 1970s.† The strongest evidence is the association of BS1 shield backstamps with Broom 1a and 2a wares. This backstamp was replaced by BS2 shield backstamps in 1982.
There also are changes within patterns, between pattern variations, which occurred earlier than previously reported, for example:
The first variation change to Mexican Lily, does not appear to have occurred in 1985 as previously reported by Jenkins and McKay (2000:111). Observations of pre- and post-1982 shield backstamps suggest at least two changes may have occurred prior to 1985:
Mexican Lily 1 to Mexican Lily 2a, possibly in the 1970s, but definitely prior to 1982, and
Mexican Lily 2a to Mexican Lily 2b, prior to t982.
Pimpernel 1 (without its English pattern and Latin names) has an anomalous BS2b82a shield backstamp that dates from 1982 to the late 1980s.† Jenkins and McKay (2000:112) reported that Pimpernel replaced Scarlet Pimpernel in 1993.† No named variation of Scarlet Pimpernel has the solid-colored, reddish-purple flowers which define Pimpernel 1. Either the BS2b82b shield backstamp was used at least until 1993, or Scarlet Pimpernel has an unnamed variation with solid-colored, reddish-purple flowers that dates prior to 1993. Until more associations of patterns and backstamps can be observed, this dilemma will remain unresolved.
On Portmeirionís web site,
the dates for Honeysuckle were given
as 1983 to 2004.† Based upon retail tags
observed on wares, one Honeysuckle 3b
mug was marked ď15 02 11Ē (indicating a manufacturing date of
On Portmeirionís web site,
the dates for Trailing Bindweed were
given as 1972-unknown.† Based upon a
retail tag observed on a soup plate that was marked ď16 04 10Ē (indicating a
manufacturing date of
Request for Additional Information
For those who collect Botanic Garden wares, brochures, and catalogues, you are encouraged to compare your wares and historical documents to the temporal periods provided for each pattern and their motifs in their respective motif catalogues, and for individual makersí marks as indicated in their online mark catalogues.† If you believe you have new evidence to revise these dates, or you believe an error has been made, please email Lester Ross with your concerns and suggestions, and when appropriate, please provide photographs of your evidence.† Through this process, it will be possible to provide more accurate temporal periods for Botanic Garden patterns, motifs, and makersí marks.
If a pattern exists on a ware and has its English pattern and Latin names printed with it, then the name of the pattern is unitalicized (e.g., Cyclamen 2), but when referring to a ware with a pattern or variation that exists on wares without its names, then the name of the pattern is italicized (e.g., Cyclamen 1).
Many patterns have major variations, generally consisting of the number of flowers, types and number of insects, and font styles.† When variations have been identified, they are identified by a numeral following the pattern name (e.g., African Daisy 1).† If no variations have been identified, then the pattern name does not require a numeral (e.g., Austrian Lily).
Citations for all references cited in this catalogue can be found online at:† Reference Cited
25 May 2012
©† 2009-2012 Lester A. Ross