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Clarice Cliff, a designer, was born January 20, 1899 in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent.
She worked in several factories such as A.J. Wilkinson, Ltd., Wilkinson's Royal
Staffordshire Pottery, Newport Pottery, and Foley Pottery. She was known for her
art deco designs and was "a pioneer of advanced thought". As early as 1931, buyers
were encouraged to buy her works as future heirlooms.
Clarice Cliff left school at the age of 13, apprenticing at Lingard, Webster, and Company. Clarice was hired by A.J. Wilkinson in 1916 in its lithography department. Her boss, Colley Shorter, saw her work and asked her to make a bust of his late father. In 1927, he sent her to the Royal College of Art in London for a course. Upon her return, she was give her own studio and three paintresses. Her designs, based on flowers, cottages, and geometric designs steered the company into success. She, also fell in love with Colley Shorter. After the death of his first wife, they were married in 1940.
In 1920 Wilkinson bought the Newport Pottery. The Newport Pottery warehouse contained hundreds of pieces of undecorated pottery. Clarice and a group of girls hid defects with brightly colored geometric designs. These designs were named "Bizarre Ware". The line was a grand success and orders came pouring in. Clarice designed an extraordinary number of patterns and designs from 1927-1935; over 160 patterns and more than 400 shapes. Almost all the pieces were signed.
Transfer printed or non-handpainted pieces were produced after WWII and into the 1950's. The most common are "Tonquin" and "Charlotte". Except for "Crocus"(produced from 1928-1963) and "Greetings From Canada" teepee teapot, they are attractive, but not valuable to the collector.
The factory continued to produce Clarice Cliff's pottery under her name until 1964.
Shortly after Colley Shorter's death in 1963, Clarice sold the factory to Midwinter in 1964. The trademark, since the 1980's, belongs to Wedgwood, Ltd.
In 1971, Clarice Cliff was acknowledged as a major art deco designer by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. A large number of her pieces were included in the "World of Art Deco Exhibition".
Clarice Cliff suddenly died October 23, 1972. She was found listening to the radio, sitting in her favorite chair, by her gardener.
To view some of the backstamps:
Clarice Cliff Backstamps
To view examples of vintage Clarice Cliff Pottery:
To view some of the patterns:
Clarice Cliff Patterns
The Clarice Cliff Website
Clarice Cliff Collectors Club
Warman's Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide-32nd Edition
Kovel's Antiques & Collectibles Price List 2003
Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide - 18th Edition, 2000
The Next Monthly Newsletter will feature the history of Gonder Ceramics Art.
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