Cash in the attic: Clarice Cliff ceramics

Clarice Cliff (1899-1972) is one of the most collectable names in 20th Century British ceramics, with prices rising to thousands for rare and desirable pieces.

Early years

Clarice’s career began as an apprentice decorator at Linguard Webster & Co. Cliff joined A J Wilkinson in 1916. By 1925 factory owner Colley Shorter spotted her talent as a decorator and gave her a studio where she painted defective wares with colourful geometric patterns to cover flaws in the ceramic. A team of women - known as the ‘Bizarre Girls’ were later trained by Cliff to paint her designs.

Vases, jugs & plates that display the pattern well are sought after

First range

Her first range ‘Bizarre’ was launched in 1928. The ‘Bizarre’ heading was used until 1935 and featured numerous pattern names under the general title. The name ‘Fantasque’ was added to the ‘Bizarre’ title during 1928-34. This Bizarre butterfly vase is valued at £1,500-£2,500.

What to look for

Value depends on shape, size, pattern and colours used. Orange is a relatively common colourway for many patterns, while purple and blue are generally rarer. Geometric patterns in the Art Deco style are hotly sought after by collectors. In general pieces that display the pattern well such as chargers, vase, jugs and plates are likely to be sought after.

Damage or wear reduces the value of any piece, so watch out for cracks and chips. Also watch out for fakes. Always look at the mark and check that it is underneath the glaze. If in doubt, be sure to buy from a reputable auction house or dealer.

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