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Clarice Cliff Pottery

Renowned for her abstract and colorful Art Deco designs, Clarice Cliff painted pottery that dazzled audiences over the entirety of her mid-20th century career. Her painted patterns are still beloved today, with collectors coveting original pieces of Clarice Cliff china.

A native of Stoke-on-Trent, England, Cliff grew up admiring her aunts, who made a living painting pottery. This is perhaps why one of her earliest jobs was that of a pottery gilder, which she eventually parlayed into a career creating ceramic designs. By the '20s, in her own early 20s, Cliff was achieving increasing levels of responsibility in the field of ceramic design as her true talents as an artist emerged. Cliff began incorporating rich Art Deco motifs into her designs for Newport Pottery, complementing their streamlined geometry with vibrant glosses of color.

This refreshing approach elicited almost immediate demand from consumers and catapulted Cliff into the role of art director for Newport Pottery in 1930. Cliff’s acclaim persisted long after she ceased to design pieces. Her painted Art Deco designs, along with her transfer Tonquin pattern dishware, continue to be in high demand day. Her varied designs ensure that there is a style of Clarice Cliff china that will appeal to everyone.

Quick Facts

  • Cliff’s first design, known as the "Bizarre Pattern," was introduced in 1928 and foreshadowed her exploration of Art Deco motifs throughout her career
  • Cliff married Colley Shorter, the managing director of Newport Pottery, in 1940. The two worked very closely together, so much so that, upon Colley’s death in 1963, Cliff shuttered the company
  • The current record sale price for a piece of Clarice Cliff pottery is held by a May Avenue pattern 18-inch charger. Originally purchased by the seller in 1933 for 25 schillings, it sold at a 2004 Christie’s auction for the equivalent of just over $60,000 today

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