Clarice Cliff

Clarice Cliff collectors unite

A record-breaking sale and a forthcoming exhibition at Stoke-on-Trent

Enthusiasm for ceramics designer Clarice Cliff has never been higher than in this, the centenary year of her birth. A single-owner collection of her work was 100% sold at Christie’s South Kensington in February, breaking several records for individual works. Collectors will go to any lengths to secure the tea cup missing from a set or the figure wanting from a full jazz-age series. Now, even if they cannot acquire the pieces, they can at least be gratified by the opportunity to see them. The biggest ever exhibition of her work, comprising some 600 pieces, has opened at the Wedgwood visitors’ centre in Stoke-on-Trent (until early September). Half of the exhibition consists of a single collection belonging to the late Barry Jones and the remaining 300 pieces have been lent from members of the Clarice Cliff Collectors Club. It promises to reveal much new information, including the origin of the name “Bizarre”, which was applied to Cliff’s innovative designs that did so much to cheer up working class homes during the Depression years.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 93 June 1999