Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Susan Ward Collection at Fairlynch

 Friend of Fairlynch Museum and founder of Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival Susan Ward, left,  with Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at a Brook Gallery reception in September 2010    Picture credit: Brook Gallery

New acquisitions in the Museum’s display of costumes this year consist of items from the Susan Ward Collection.  

When Susan and her husband Charles moved to Budleigh Salterton in 2005 she soon became involved in fundraising for Fairlynch, becoming a Trustee of the Museum's Endowment Fund.  But it was the Literary Festival that she founded which then became her real passion.

The first three-day Festival opened on 18 September 2009 with a strong line-up, including Hilary Mantel, H.R.F. Keating, Val McDermid, Simon Brett, the actor Sheila Mitchell and journalist Virginia Ironside.

Very sadly, after a long illness, Susan died peacefully at home in Budleigh on 19 June 2012.  Thanks to a thoughtful gesture on the part of Professor Charles Ward, visitors will now have the chance to admire these items, some of which are on display in the dressing room. 


A Victorian cream silk dress with beige embroidery 


A Edwardian black tussore silk dress with bustle, or framework to support the drapery at the back of the dress. Tussore silk comes from the larvae of the tussore moth and related species.


This maid’s outfit will be kept in the Study Section of the Fairlynch Costume Department.


Costume curator Iris Ansell with one of the dresses from the Susan Ward Collection which will also be part of the Study Section.

One of the special items in the Susan Ward Collection is a  mannequin of the Edwardian period.  “Very interesting indeed,” was Iris Ansell’s comment.

And hiding under the Victorian dress was a 1970s dress which Costume Department volunteers found, to great excitement. “It’s perfect” said Iris. “Just as I remember them from that period!”

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