CLIFF, Clarice (1899-1972), pottery designer, Tunstall. 


Further article on Clarice Cliff

Clarice Cliff was born in Meir Street, Tunstall, on 20 January 1899, the middle child of seven brothers and sisters, the children of Harry Thomas Cliff and Ann nee Machine. 

She attended the High Street Elementary and Summerbank schools in Tunstall and was apprenticed as an enameller at Lingard Webster's factory, at a wage of one shilling a week. After three years she moved to work as a lithographer at Hollinshead and Kirkham. She attended evening classes in Tunstall, and at the age of 17 went to work for A. J. Wilkinson, where her decorating manager, Jack Walker, noticed her artistic flair. he called Colley Shorter's attention to her and she was allowed to experiment with designs. 

Bizarre Salt Shaker - Sold for over $1275 (2000)

Her first productions were brightly coloured and made up of diamonds, oblongs and squares. She had the idea of painting imperfect ware with these designs, and the designs and crude colours began to sell. The early designs were called Bizarre. Cliff pottery was shown at many exhibitions and her design, Tibetan, won the diploma of honour at Ghent in 1913. In the 1920s and 1930s Clarice with her cloche hat, cigarettes and ruby-coloured Austin Seven, seemed to be typical of the times Towards the end of her life she became a celebrity among Art Deco collectors. She married Colley Shorter who had first provided the opportunity for her to express her talents. 

She died in1972. In that year Brighton Museum staged a Clarice Cliff exhibition. 

Sources: P. Wentworth-Shields and K. Johnson, Clarice Cliff; Evening Sentinel 24 May 1976.