Photographic Print. Trompe L'Oeil Mermaid holding a fish in archway of the Old Toll Gate, Portmeirion.
The mermaid at the entrance of Portmeirion village looks serene in blue light. I asked Robin Llywelyn about her. He said, "The mermaid from the roof of the Observatory tower is now at the
entrance, at the old tollgate. Clough's plan for the Observatory Tower
(often called the Camera Obscura) included a mermaid cut out on the
apex, similar in size and style but holding something
above her head. We found the sheet metal cut out in the builders yard
(known as "the compound") probably about 25 years ago, it was covered in
rust from head to toe but a bit of cleaning revealed etched lines
delineating the main features. A local signwriter/artist
called Nigel Simmons used these lines to recreate what we thought she
would have looked like in the 1930s. No photos survive of this mermaid
in situ, if you consider the size, weight and surface area of this
cutout and the strong winds that blow in off the
estuary I think one can fairly well imagine that she would not have
lasted the winter on the top of the Observatory Tower before either
bending to the wind or crashing to the ground, to be replaced (if she
was ever installed, as no evidence exists that she
was actually used, perhaps the impracticality might have become
apparent before she was hoisted up the tower) by a much more wind
In Paintings in Gouache she is a fragment in Portmeirion 4. Mermaid take care not to...
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