Iris Fox was probably the greatest ever Wemyss Ware collector
Iris Fudge was born near Newport in Wales in 1913. Her mother was a bit of a trader to help make ends meet and Iris began collecting pottery and porcelain when she was around 16. She married Stanley Fox in 1935 and at the end of WWII they moved to Edinburgh.
Tragedy struck in 1948 when Stanley and their son John were traveling back to Wales, there was a catastrophic train crash. John was killed and Stanley was seriously injured. The compensation they received as a result of the accident enabled them to invest in boarding houses and also two antique shops in Edinburgh.
Through her antique shop in West Bow, which leads down to the Grassmarket in Edinburgh, she grew her massive collection of Wemyss Ware as well as German and French porcelain. Her house, Craigievar in the Liberton area of Edinburgh became her “museum” with themed rooms. As an antique dealer it was said that Iris bought a lot more than she ever sold. Her collections ran to many thousands of pieces.
Iris died in 1992, and having no heirs left her collection to Newport museum and to 4 charities. The cream of her collection, about 500 items, were donated to the museum in Wales. The rest was sold for the charities with most items being auctioned by Sotheby’s in Edinburgh on 7-8th November 1994. There were 840 lots, comprising several thousand individual items. About half of the collection was Wemyss. The sale raised £456,734.