Haliburton House Museum is proud to exhibit Nova Scotia Museum’s Weldon Collection of fine china. This important collection, one of oldest collections of ceramics in Canada, was developed by Susanna Haliburton Weldon, Thomas Chandler Haliburton’s oldest daughter, to commemorate Loyalist history.
Susanna Lucy Anne Haliburton moved into the new built Clifton with her family while a teenager. She married in her 30s to John Wesley Weldon, a New Brunswick lawyer and eventually judge. The couple would have one child, a son, in 1849.
Susanna, like her father, had an interest in local history, particularly Loyalist history. Starting in the 1860s, for a period of 15 years, she approached Loyalist families to collect “specimens of china brought to the colonies by early settlers, especially the Loyalists.”
The Collection “The History of a People Told in China”
The collection of over three hundred pieces, mainly English tableware (ca. 1760 – 1840) and Chinese export porcelain (ca. 1610 – 1790), represent one of the earliest collections of ceramics in Canada. The purpose of the collection was to preserve examples of fine china brought to the country by the Loyalists, families who fled the American Revolution in the 1770s. It represents largely military and civilian officials.
Susanna carefully catalogued the history of each piece – focusing on the family stories rather than ceramic identification. In her notes, she says “It is rather a remarkable fact, that in the hazardous departure of these Refugees, though obliged in many cases to leave their books, plate, and even clothing; still the bowl in which their children were baptized, or some valuable article of glass or porcelain was always saved.”