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LIVE24SEVEN // Property & Interiors


A BUY E R S GUIDE - WI L L FARME R Susie Cooper OBE


Susie Cooper was quite simply one of the most elegant and diverse designers of her day. She produced a catalogue of wares that went from Art Deco to Pop with an ease only possible through sheer good design.


1902 -1995


Renowned and revered by those around her in the industry, Susie Cooper was known to be a private lady who avoided press and publicity. In a career that spanned more than 60 years of the British Pottery Industry, she left an indelible mark on each generation.


SO WHO WAS SUSIE COOPER?


Susie Cooper was born in 1902 in the Stansfield area of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent to a fairly affluent family. The youngest of seven children, with three sisters and three brothers, Susie enjoyed drawing and spent many childhood hours sketching and doodling, drawing inspiration from the world around her.


Will Farmer is our antiques & collectors expert, he is well known for his resident work on the Antiques Roadshow, he has also written for the popular ‘Miller’s Antique Guide’. Those in the know will have also come across him at ‘Fieldings Auctioneers’. We are delighted that Will writes for Live 24-Seven, he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise.


In 1919, she enrolled at the Burslem School of Art where she initially studied typing, only to transfer to a subject closer to her heart, drawing. A skilled and talented artist, Susie was offered a full time scholarship in September of 1920 where upon she met Gordon Forsyth. Forsyth was not only a talented designer, but also an inspirational man who was to have a profound influence on both Susie and her career!


Initially Susie had wished to pursue a career in fashion design, however owing to lack of formal experience in the field her application to the Royal College of Art was rejected. To get around this problem Gordon Forsyth contacted his friend and colleague Albert Edward Gray, the owner of Gray’s Pottery, a small family firm based in Stoke, and arranged for Susie to take a temporary posting as a piecework paintress. What had been intended as a brief posting marked the start of what was to become a 60 year career!


GRAYS: 1923 TO 1929


When Susie Cooper first began working for A.E.Gray few could have predicted the career that lay ahead. Initially employed as a basic paintress and enameller the young Susie was to make her presence felt. A desire to design and a determination to make it happen saw Susie quickly rise to become the firm’s senior designer. Confident and passionate she set about creating wares that she would become internationally acclaimed for.


As with many other designers of the day, the 1925 Paris exhibition was to prove incredibly influential on the young Susie Cooper as the bold forms and strong colours of the European art movements filtered down to the motifs and designs she was to add to the wares. Patterns such as Cubist and Moon & Mountains showed Susie’s understanding of the influential art markets and their impact on domestic design.


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