Serial-blogger Jane has been watching Bargain Hunt again…..
If you do an internet search on Clarice Cliff, eBay is regularly included in your first page of hits. Eminently collectable, the creations of this English ceramic artist employed innovative use of colour, design and shape, making her instantly recognisable works a feature of the Art Deco period.
Clarice Cliff was born in 1899 in the heart of the English potteries country, Tunstall in Staffordshire. Progressing from apprentice to artist/designer she oversaw the production of a wide array of both functional and decorative pieces. Over the years, over 100 ceramic artists worked to replicate her designs. Most of the artists have been traced, including Rene Dale who recalled working for Cliff in the 1930’s:
“We all thought it was so gaudy, but then that was the idea, she wanted it gaudy, she wanted it gay … She thought the British housewives deserved more colour in their lives.”
The Library holds several books on Clarice Cliff focusing on her career, such as Comprehensively Clarice Cliff, illustrating all patterns and shapes, from the strikingly coloured geometric patterns of her “Bizarre” style to more conventional floral designs.
Art Deco Complete places Cliff in the context of the period more generally, and includes furniture, paintings and graphics, bookbinding, metal and lacquer work.
Clarice Cliff and Her Contemporaries includes other artists Susie Cooper, Keith Murray and Charlotte Rhead.
Capturing a younger generation of afficionados, a class at Beaconsfield Primary School used her works to inspire their arts project, creating their own jugs and decorating them with designs a la Clarice.
If, after perusing any of the above, you feel inspired to start your own collection, Carter’s price guide to antiques and collectables (available online inside the State Library building) lists recent sales.
For some more background:
And speaking of Art Deco, a little something from our Picture Collection; it wouldn’t really matter what was showing…….