Posted 3 years ago
Yet another visit to the Surry Hills Market last Saturday yielded a good result with these three pieces of Susie Cooper. Every once in a while I see something that I know I need to buy and these three tempted me severely although they were not cheap. These three pieces are in a pattern called "the Lion and the Unicorn". It seems the design first appeared in 1950, coincidentally my birth year and there a personal significance. They were used in a series of wares at the 1951 Festival of Britain.
“Susie Cooper bone china designs (Quail shape) were chosen for the Royal Pavilion at the Festival of Britain, 1951, and other ranges were shown in other areas of the Festival displays.”
“In 1950 she bought a '2 oven factory' in Longton (the Jason China Co. Ltd) and turned its production from 'Longton China' into 'Fine China'. The teawares designed by Susie Cooper were produced at Longton and decorated at Burslem. Accolades followed each other in quick succession.”
The decoration on these three pieces is all hand done. In the post-war period Ms Cooper had introduced new techniques, one of which was an “aerograph” decoration. The glaze was air sprayed onto the piece and then partially removed back to the clear porcelain using “sgraffito” technique and additional gilded decoration.
I think this is the inverse of a technique she had used at Gray’s in the 1920’s when she worked with Gordon Forsyth on the Gloria Lustre range.
I had collected Clarice Cliff and Susie Cooper in the 70's and had a few good pieces of both at that time. I liked the studio wares of Susie Cooper most of all from the 30's. I'd seen the 30's exhibition in London on my first trip over in 1979 at the Hayward Gallery. Deco was a passion at the time. The catalogue from that exhibition was a constant source of reflection and source material.
I then moved into different areas. Royal Lancastrian was a thing in the 80's and had a few lustre pieces. I bought my first piece of Royal Lancastrian lustre designed and painted by Gordon Forsyth. Later on in his career Forsyth moved to Gray’s Pottery and it was there that he influenced a young Susie Cooper. Susie worked there from 1922 to 1929. Forsyth was there from 1919 to 1930. There is a period at Gray’s after 1923 called Gloria Lustre where Susie and Gordon collaborated in the production of lustre pottery at Gray’s.
The two beakers combine a few elements in my collecting over the years. That's why I love them!
The saucer that I've shown is both a tease and a challenge. It is one element of a trio. I'm missing the cup and a plate. The cup will have the lion within it and the plate will have the lion in its centre. But if you could actually feel the saucer you'd experience the 'touchy-feely' beauty of the graffito decoration.