21st April 1944 - 20th
Susannah Bradley trained as an
illustrator at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, which has
consistently been one of the top art schools in the country for many
decades. After graduation, while continuing to work as an illustrator, she
became an art teacher for a while, but eventually found her dream career
in publishing. Before going freelance after the birth of her children, she
worked in various editorial roles at Hamlyn and IPC Magazines.
Although the switch from
pictures to words brought a new emphasis to her career, Susannah continued
to take on special artwork commissions – and in the 1990s she began
working on individual pieces which may be conventional pictures, or creations
(sometimes three-dimensional) in wood, depicting a customer’s home,
child, pet, ancestors – or even the local pub with her patron sitting
Susannah’s scale of painting
has varied from full wall murals (“but a mural doesn’t have to take up
the whole wall – it can be a plant on a shelf or a swash-buckling pirate
strutting across an otherwise blank wall” said Susannah) to tiny
brooches. In between there were mirrors, letter-racks and her
locally-famous cat doorstops which have caused many a real-life moggy to
draw back and hiss at the intruder.
Sadly, for all her family and
many friends, she died in August 2008 after a short illness.
for details of Susannah's Walk
Susannah used the little black
and white snapshots of the early part of the 20th century, with
their owner’s memories of colour detail, and created paintings in
watercolour, acrylics or oils which give back the vibrancy the snapshot
failed to hold. Many people commissioned her to paint a
colourful version of an old photograph of a wedding.
Susannah’s brooches may have beeen
tiny but they are instantly recognizable as her work.
The Wivenhoe Mayor’s Ball brooches have become extremely
collectable. Produced by Susannah as a signed and numbered limited edition
with a different theme for each year’s prestigious fund-raising event,
these brooches have reflected each mayor’s personal theme, which have so
far included toads, dragons, British birds, and, most recently, primroses.
As a devotee of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas she has made
show brooches for both Wivenhoe and Ipswich Gilbert and Sullivan Societies.
plants, bowls or cricket players, local buildings, boats, family groups
– beautiful desk pieces with what her customers call ‘good surprise
qualities’ made Susannah’s letter-racks ideal presents for personal or
commemorative presentations. Each one was individually made after careful
discussion with the customer.
mirrors make stunning decorations.
Susannah undertook commissions for people as a reminder of their
hobbies, to mark the selling of a family home with a mirror showing the
house and the favourite areas of the garden; a gift for the producer of a
show as a thank-you with scenes and
characters from the production around it.
whole room, or a little bit of eye-catching detail here and there?
Susannah was capable of producing a whole scene to transform a room.
more mural pictures, click
Susannah paints the Wivenhoe Year for Wivenhoe Town Council - click
- Exhibition of Photographs - Books and Barley - click