Antiques Roadshow: Expert values Clarice Cliff jug collection
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Will Farmer was on hand to value an impressive collection of Clarice Cliff jugs in a previous episode of Antiques Roadshow. The expert was taken aback by the owner’s dedication to finding many of the designs, but he still had over 230 to get. But how much would the collection of 70 be worth should they go to auction? Will put a £15,000 price tag on the items.
“Some 35 – 36 years from a young lad, aged 11, who bought their first piece of Clarice Cliff, and I sense that you’re as much of a collector as I am?” Will asked and the owner agreed. “What set you off with this collection?”
“I went to an auction once and I found a small ashtray and it started from there – I just love the patterns and the colours” the guest explained.
“When did it develop into concentrating on just these little jugs?” Will wondered.
“I just found the shape amazing, then when I started getting one or two and realising there were so many patterns to collect, I just stuck with it,” the man continued.
“It’s interesting, the shape we’ve got here is called the tankard shape and actually,” Will revealed. “If we just look at Clarice’s career and how she steps into this, she really hits the ground running in 1927 and it’s in that year when she starts working in pottery called Newport.
“When she started working in Newport, she actually inherited a lot of old existing stock and shapes and one of them was the tankard coffee set, and what we’re looking at here is the cream jugs from a full coffee set.
“Now you mentioned to me about patterns, I’ve done a rough count here, we’ve got about 70. In Clarice’s working career, we believe she’s over the 300 mark when it comes to known patterns.
“We go from something like this,” the expert said picking up one jug. “A little cream jug simply banded in a pattern called Liberty Stripe, it was quick, it was cheap, meet the supply, meet the demand of the buying public.
“Then you run straight over to something like this, May Avenue, a 1933 design and to day to the collectors, considered the holy grail of landscapes.”
“It took me a long time to get that,” the man commented.
Will continued: “Looking at the patterns here, you’ve got abstracts, geometrics, florals, landscapes – you’ve got little milk jugs down here that run to 1927 and go right through to 1936-38 even.
“So, you’ve got 70, got a bit of collecting left to do! What’s your goal?”
The guest replied: “I’d love to find some more but I don’t know where it goes. You say there’s 300 patterns, I’m sure there wasn’t 300 patterns on the tankard shape coffee sets.”
“Why not?” Will asked. “This is Clarice, this is what she did! And I think, there is pretty much every likelihood that every pattern she designed will have made it onto a coffee set. So quite frankly, sir, you’ve got a lot of work to do!”
As for how much the collection was worth, Will revealed: “We’ve got to look at values when we look across the table here, there’s individual jugs – Liberty Stripe, it’s modest, let’s say £50, it’s a very accessible little piece.
“Right through to the May Avenue which I’m probably guessing cost you between £1000 and £1500?”
“£1400,” the guest clarified.
“When you start to add up the whole collection here, I think you’ve got the best part of £15,000 sat here in this collection,” Will said. “That’s in 70, you’ve got another 230 to find!”
“I’ll have to talk to my wife,” the man joked.
Clarice Cliff is one of the UK’s most prolific and important ceramists, and she is best known for her innovative, colour-rich designs.
The Art Deco movement had a major influence on her work and commercial success.
Antiques Roadshow is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer now.
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