Susan Scott

Susan with Walter Moorcroft    Susan grew up in Winnipeg in the 1950s and 1960s and never exhibited any interest in antiques or collectibles. She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a degree in history and after a chequered career in publishing, government and retailing, she went to York University for an M.B.A. The university then hired her to do special projects for the Dean of Arts and then for the Liaison Office.
    Every year while she was working at the university, she would fly over to England to visit her grandmother. In 1984 on a nostalgia-driven trip to her grandmother’s old pub in Tynemouth, Susan bought her first piece of twentieth century English ceramics. The Rington’s tea caddy made by Maling was from the 1929 Northeast Exhibition in Newcastle with a special lid and cost _75. She also bought the first book on Maling Ware at the same time. This desire for information as well as examples led her to the Potteries Museum in Hanley.
    For over ten years Susan has been going to Stoke-on-Trent every fall and sitting in the library going through old issues of the Pottery Gazette and Pottery and Glass Record. She xeroxed hundreds of old advertisements and built up a library of information on dozens of English factories. She joined collectors clubs -- Susie Cooper, Clarice Cliff, Poole Pottery, Moorcroft Pottery, Chintz China, Carlton Ware, Shelley, Radford, Cornish Ware and learned from all the members and their collections. She corresponded with the head of the chintz collectors in California and weekly telephone calls led to a meeting in England. Susan and Linda Eberle became friends and agreed to collaborate on a chintz book – Linda supplied the photographs and Susan the research. The first book sold out in a month in 1995 and the second edition sold out early in 1998. The third edition of Susan's chintz book came out 1999. To order an autographed copy, go to the order form on ChintzNet. Susan is now gathering information for the fourth edition scheduled for publication in 2002.
    She met a group of people at the first Clarice Cliff Convention she attended back in 1992. They now meet every year in November for the Clarice Cliff auction at Christie’s South Kensington in London and a weekend of antique markets and dinner in Soho.
    In 1995 Susan wrote to Canadian House & Home suggesting story ideas and the editor asked for a page on chintz ware. This led to a monthly ‘hot collectibles’ column which has introduced Susan to dozens of passionate collectors of egg cups, corkscrews, granite ware, Japanese kitsch, post cards, telephones….
    She loves the pursuit, the getting up at 4am and heading off to the outdoor antique markets in the hopes of finding treasure. She was invited to join a group of American collectors and dealers for the Newark International Antique Fair in England back in 1994. In those days the fair allowed dealers to open the back of their vans and sell while waiting in line. Susan and the reporter from the New York Times wandered around in the dark as the mist rose from the ground. The flashlights and beams from miners’ helmets would reveal a face here, antique there – one of those experiences you can never forget.
    The fun of researching the 20th century is the people and the objects are readily accessible. Susan hasSusan with Linda at a signing for the first edition of the chintz book interviewed elderly women who worked in the factories in Stoke and still keeps in touch with Ivy Mayer, the former secretary to the Export Director at Royal Winton. Ivy answered an advertisement Susan placed in the local papers in Staffordshire and gave Susan all kinds of information about the export of English ceramics.
    In the same way, 20th century objects are often unappreciated and forgotten in the back of cupboards. One woman wrote to Susan asking about a stacking teapot in a rare pattern which her mother had bought forty years ago as a teenager on a family holiday in Niagara Falls. When Susan told her what the going price was for her pot, the woman was overjoyed. "My mother really needs a new furnace she said and that teapot has been in her closet for over 20 years." Another dealer told Susan that when she went to do a house clearing, the son had put together a box for the charity shops. When she looked in the box it was filled with chintz and she sold it off for hundreds of dollars.
    She has been carefully assembling Royal Doulton Bunnykins for her two-year-old grandson and the lessons she has learned from all her research have been useful. She has bought the collector plates only available for a year and the limited edition bunnies. She hopes that by the time Gabriel is 18, he can either keep his collection or sell it to finance his university education
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For more on Susan please see:
    The articles section
    The 1998 Collecting the 20th Century Event

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