February 17, 2018
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Royal Staffordshire plate by Clarice Cliff with fishing image and green border
Royal Staffordshire plate by Clarice Cliff with fishing image and green border Royal Staffordshire plate by Clarice Cliff with fishing image and green border.Gold designs on a light green border surround a outlined image of a gentleman in top hat, fly fishing near a small waterfall or rapid. About 10" in diameter I have another similar plate with a red border and slightly different gold work but the same image. Make an offer for both.

The pottery firm which later became Shorter and Son was first set up by Arthur Shorter in 1878 with a partner James Boulton in Stoke on Trent.

Colley and Guy were made directors of Wilkinsons in 1916, the same year that Clarice Cliff, aged 17, started work there as a decorator. In 1920 the family acquired the Newport Pottery, also in Burslem, later famous for its production of Clarice Cliff’s "Bizarre" ware.

In 1925 Colley Shorter, much impressed by Clarice’s work, provided her with her own studio next to his office. He also sent her on a modern design course at the Royal College of Art and a trip to Paris to observe the arts scene there. Allowed to experiment with old Newport Pottery shapes, she produced her new bold geometric designs, so expressive of the Art Deco age. Colley was a consummate salesman and it was he who conceived the idea of personalising her designs with her signature, thus launching one of the 20th century’s design legends.

In 1926 Arthur Shorter died and over the next few years his sons felt freer to develop their firms’ products along more adventurous lines. The Shorter factory itself, still the most traditional in its output, felt the wind of change. In their book ‘The Shorter Connection’, Gordon and Irene Hopwood explore in detail the extent to which the creativity of Clarice Cliff was channelled into Shorter products in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.

Shorter’s received a further creative boost in the 1930’s from the employment of the designer Mabel Leigh, who in two short years with them produced an extensive and exciting range of ‘ Period Pottery’. This was based on ethnic designs from around the Mediterranean, Africa and Central America. Even though she left the firm in 1935, the designs had such appeal they continued to be produced for years afterwards.

In 1940, after the death of his first wife, Colley married Clarice Cliff who became Artistic Director of the group of potteries. Shorter’s flourished through the following two decades, producing popular new lines and re-producing some of their old ones. Running into stiffer competition in the 1960’s and with the loss of Colley’s participation, retiring due to ill-health in 1961, to die in 1963, the firm began to falter.

Clarice Cliff-Shorter disposed of the family shares in Wilkinson and Newport and so control passed to the Midwinter Company. Shorter’s were effectively taken over by Crown Devon in 1964 and their distinctive identity was finally lost with the retirement of the last family member John, Guy’s son in 1972."

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Royal Staffordshire plate by Clarice Cliff with fishing image and green border $19.99
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