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Pottery in the blood, Clarice Cliff

July 05, 2017

Pottery in the blood, Clarice Cliff

It could be said that pottery was 'in the blood' for Clarice Cliff, who was born in 1899 in Tunstall, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire in 1899, 'The Potteries'.  Always with an aptitude for art she passed all her art exams and wanted to become a teacher.  However Clarice developed a keen interest in the decoration of the pottery that was being produced all around her and gained a post at A.J. Wilkinsons factory in 1916.

During this time Wilkinson's acquired the Newport Pottery factory, around 1920.  Clarice who had by now displayed her aptitude was given a studio on the site.  In 1927 the famous 'Bizarre' range was launched.   Due to it's popular modern design and shapes the whole of the Newport factory was eventually given over to the poroduction of 'Bizarre' and later  the'Crocus' and 'Ravel' decorated designs

From 1936 Clarice was having an affair with her then employer Colley Shorter, owner of Wilkinson's and the Newport potteries.  In 1940 after the death of Colley's wife the couple married and Clarice moved into Colley's home Chetwynd House.  The factory continued to produce up until the advent of world war two, when the production staff were required to work for the war effort.

After the war production of the Clarice Cliff designs continued until the death of Colley in 1964.  Also the introduction of the clean air act at this time, to conform to this with the firing of pottery was costly.  Clarice sold the factory and retired to Chetwynd House. She died in 1972, the same year as the first exhibition of her work had taken place in Brighton.



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