So, this week we take a mysterious and magical tour of Portmeirion, Wales.
Portmeirion, as you’ll recall from last Friday’s blog on The Prisoner, was the setting for The Village—an apparently idyllic community that harbors a dark side, a side dedicated to separating from people the secrets they acquired from their previous government employers. Those who cough up their secrets live out their lives in peaceful bliss. Those who do not . . . well, The Village has a very impressive graveyard, and a deadly sentry that makes escape impossible.
It was in the mid to late 1990s, on a trip to visit our eldest daughter at her Air Force duty station somewhere in England. Knowing of my admiration for The Prisoner, Ursula had set up a surprise for me—two nights stay in one of the Portmeirion Cottages. It was quite an experience, as we were only a few short steps away from the residence of Number Six (Patrick McGoohan)—the protagonist of The Prisioner. Alas, Number Six’s residence is not one of the available cottages. Instead, the “Round House” is home to The Prisoner Shop, and you get only one guess as to the theme of the merchandise sold there.
The man behind this Italianate village was architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. He devised every aspect of the village, and supervised its construction over a fifty-year period that started in 1925 and finished just three years before his death in 1978 at the age of 94. Some aspects of his grand vision were not completed until well after his death—the Pantheon (a.k.a., “The Green Dome,” Number Two’s residence in the television series) for instance. Initially, the dome was green—a wooden structure painted that color. But in the early 1990s that dome was replaced with copper which, in several more years, may actually become green yet once again.
More on Portmeirion (including their world-famous pottery and China) on Wednesday. Until then, enjoy the show below. But bear in mind that these photographs were taken the old fashion way—35mm color negative film converted to color prints. These original prints were scanned a couple of days ago, and then corrected with a little computer post-processing. So, what I’m really trying to say is, don’t expect the usual quality you’ve come to expect of my photographs.