J Wilkinson Ltd
Location and period of operation:
?? (early 1990's?)
Formerly Wilkinson and Hulme.
Arthur J Wilkinson (Ltd) operating at the Royal Staffordshire Pottery (and formerly at the Central Pottery), in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent.
Producing earthenware and Ironstone.
At the age of 17 Clarice Cliff (who became the famous "Bizarre Ware" designer) started work at at Wilkinson - previously she worked for Hollinshead & Kirkham.
see article "Colourful Clarice Cliff"
see article "Why did Clarice Cliff become so famous?"
Initials used on ware for identification:
"Ltd" was added to the marks from c.1896
ROYAL IRONSTONE CHINA
ROYAL STAFFORDSHIRE POTTERY
[on early ware "Royal Staffordshire Pottery"
appears without the Wilkinson name]
early ware c.1891 - c.1910 may have the factory name without the company name
The Clarice Cliff Collectors Club is at www.claricecliff.com
Clarice Cliff was born (1899) into a working class family in Tunstall. She showed artistic promise at school and left at age 13 to work as an apprentice enameller at a local factory 3 years later moving to another firm as an apprentice lithographer, at the same time she attended evening classes at Tunstall School of Art.
In 1916 at 17 she joined A J Wilkinson's pottery where her drawing brought her to the attention of the owner, Colley Shorter and he allowed her to experiment on some old stock. In 1927 he arranged for her to study sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London. Later in 1927 she studied in Paris.
After a few months there she returned to Stoke-on-Trent where Shorter set her up in a decorating studio. By 1929 her designs went into full production as 'Hand Painted Bizarre by Clarice Cliff'.
By 1931 she was an Art Director of the factory with a decorating team of around 150.
Clarice Cliff and Shorter eventually married. She died in 1972.
Meisel, Louis K, "Clarice Cliff - The Bizarre Affair"
Watson, Howard, "Collecting Clarice Cliff"
Wentworth-Shields, Peter, and Johnson, Kay. "Clarice Cliff"
Hopwood, Gordon and Irene, "The Shorter Connection".
"Clarice Cliff" catalogue of exhibition at the Museum and Art Gallery Brighton.
Spours, Judy. "Art Deco Tableware".
Buckley, Cheryl. "Potters and Paintresses - Women Designers in the Pottery Industry 1870 - 1955".
Watson, Howard, "The Clarice Cliff Colour Price Guide". Francis Joseph Publications.
EXAMPLES OF POTTERY ARE TO BE FOUND AT
The Victoria and Albert Museum
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Bethesda Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.
c/o Len Griffin, 29 Castlegate Street, Nottingham, NG1 7AP
Source: courtesy Gladstone Pottery Museum
Questions / comments /
email: Steve Birks
updated: 1 March 2006