Sir Clough Williams-Ellis

Rose's great-grandfather was the renowned British architect and pioneer of ecological conservation, most famous for his life's work, Portmeirion Village, in Snowdonia. Growing up, Rose spent family weekends at Portmeirion, and fell in love with the meandering forests and gardens, the coastal walks and the elegant buildings.

Clough was also instrumental in the establishment of National Parks in the United Kingdom, and was passionate about the conservation of Snowdonia in Wales, where his family originated. 

Clough was given a house, Plas Brondanw, in 1902 by his father on his marriage to Amabel Strachey. His work on the house and landscaping of the gardens was received with much acclaim, and today the gardens are open to visitors.

Portmeirion Village

Built on a private peninsula in Snowdonia, North Wales, Portmeirion Village rises out of the wooded hills and extends down to the sea shore. This was Clough's life's work, his aim being to prove that a place of outstanding natural beauty could be built upon in a sympathetic way, with the design of buildings playing a key role in the enhancement of an environment, without detracting from it.

This vision was so well proven in Portmeirion that he became the oldest person to be knighted in 1972, at 89 years old 'for services to the preservation of the environment and to architecture'. 

Plas Brondanw

The gardens at Plas Brondanw are the finest example of Sir Clough’s talent for creative landscape design, where he created a unique and majestic landscape. It has been in the family since it was built in the 16th century.

Inspired by the gardens of renaissance Italy, strong architectural references are evident in the form of stone walls, topiary and avenues of trees leading the eye to the dramatic back drop of the mountains beyond. Rose's mother was born and grew up at Plas, and in 2014, Rose was married in the Plas Brondanw gardens.

Today the house continues the tradition of supporting and celebrating the arts and design in being the home of the Susan Williams-Ellis Foundation, an archive for the family's work, and gallery and facility for a local artists' residency programme.

Amabel Williams-Ellis

Amabel Williams-Ellis, née Strachey, was Clough's wife, and the daughter of John St Loe Strachey, the editor of the Spectator between 1887 and 1925. Amabel met Clough when he won an architecture competition held by the Spectator, and they married in 1915. They socialised with the most eminent creative figures of the time, notably the Bloomsbury Set, of which Amabel's cousin Lytton Strachey was a member, and Rudyard Kipling, who became their daughter, Susan's, godfather.

Amabel was a writer, and during the seventy years of her literary career worked as a highly professional and productive author, editor, compiler, and translator. She wrote periodical articles, novels, and books of information on politics, culture, women’s lives, and science, historical and contemporary, for both children and adults. She is now best known for editing multitudinous volumes of fairy tales, folk legends, and science fiction. It is said that, on average, she produced a book per year for 70 years.

Susan Williams-Ellis

Susan Williams-Ellis

Susan Williams-Ellis was Clough and Amabel's daughter, and Rose's grandmother. She was the renowned artist and founder of Portmeirion Pottery. She was creative from an early age, having studied ceramics with Bernard and David Leach whilst at the Darlington Hall School, and moving on to a degree at Chelsea School of Art, where her teachers were Graham Sutherland and Henry Moore. This grounding in the arts led her to become particularly adept at creating three dimensional shapes, and was instrumental in the success of Portmeirion Pottery.

Portmeirion Pottery

Susan started Portmeirion in the early 1960s, and the company quickly became known for the interesting and elegant shapes Susan created. Her Totem design during this time became a defining collection for the company in the 1960s, and her Botanic Garden collection which launched in 1972 became what is now the most recognised pattern in British pottery.

Portmeirion pottery is now a Publicly Listed Company, and products are still made in the same factory in Britain's ceramics hub, Stoke-On-Trent.

Artistic Works

Susan was a prolific artist, and as well as running Portmeirion Pottery, she created a huge amount of work. One of her favourite pastimes was scuba diving and snorkelling, which she did all over the world in order to sit at the level of coral reefs and sketch fish from life using tracing paper and crayons. 

Her beautiful works from these trips to the Indian, Pacific and Caribbean oceans was one of the reasons she was given an honorary fellowship by the University of The Arts London in 2005.

Rose has been particularly inspired by Susan's work- growing up she vividly remembers visiting Susan's studio, and was always enamoured with the fish paintings lining the walls.

Rose's Tropical Collection

In styles favoured by the hedonistic Bloomsbury Set of 1920s London, Rose's Tropical Collection bears an exotic exclusive print using her grandmother and British artist, Susan Williams-Ellis' paintings of tropical fish. 

Soft sands, lapping waters, blue skies…These are the dreams behind The Tropical Collection, a decadent selection of silk loungewear. Enjoy gliding around in our exquisitely light silks.

View the collection