A VERY BRIEF HISTORY of Clarice Cliff…
Born in 1899 in Tunstall Staffordshire, in the heart and soul of the British pottery industry, Clarice came from a large family with a humble background. She was the daughter of an iron worker and was one of eight children. Clarice developed an interest in art pottery and ceramics from an early age and at age thirteen started to work in the industry. Working as an apprentice for several well-known firms before her parents, whom recognised her artistic talent, struggled to pay for her to attend classes at the Turnstall School of Art.
Shortly after WW1, Clarice seized an opportunity to work at A.J. Wilkinson and the her talents were rewarded with a chance to show her creative flare, which led to great success, amazing career progression and a beautiful romance (Colley Shorter whom she married in 1940).
By the 1940′s, Clarice was a well established and leading designer that had produced many now very sought after ranges and she was also allowed to add her signature alongside the factory mark. This was virtually unheard of in those days. Have you heard of “Bizarre”, “Fantasque” or the “Crocus” design? These are just a few!
From the 1930’s until the present day, Clarice Cliff’s influence and design and has been mimicked, copied and faked. This, along with her own personal life story and achievements until she died in 1972 (shortly after Colley Shorter’s death), is one of the greatest epic fairytale stories of the 20th Century!
You have to love Clarice Cliff! An amazing designer, an incredible woman and a fantastic story!
- In 1912, at the age of 13, Clarice Cliff started work as an apprentice enameller for “The Potteries” at Hollinshead & Kirkham.
- In 1916, Clarice Cliff started work as an lithographer apprentice for the Burslem firm A J Wilkinson (at the Royal Staffordshire Pottery – earlier known as Central Pottery) at the age of 17.
- In 1927, Ms Cliff’s artistic flare was recognised with her very own studio at A J Wilkinsons’ other factory at Newport Pottery Ltd and the beginning of the famous “Bizarre Ware” range amongst others .
- In 1963, Ms Cliff became the owner of A J Wilkinson after the death of her husband (and owner of Wilkinsons) Colley Shorter.
- In 1964, Clarice Cliff sold A J Wilkinson to Midwinter Company when she decided to retire. Clarice Cliff’s name was no longer used on their wares.
Sources and for more information visit the Clarice Cliff Collectors Club at http://www.claricecliff.com/
CHECK OUT SOME GREAT PIECES OF CLARICE CLIFF POTTERY FOR SALE HERE!
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