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'Fish set' sauce boat and stand: C.29 & A-1996

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


'Fish set' sauce boat and stand


Production: Shorter & Son Ltd.
Designer: Cliff, Clarice (Probably)




Earthenware sauceboat in the shape of a fish on a fish-shaped dish, glazed in matt apricot and green and painted with black enamel

Slip-cast earthenware sauce boat in the shape of a fish with its tail curled up and its mouth open to serve as a spout glazed in matt apricot and green, and painted with black enamel. The fish has a shaped aperture on its back and its sides are moulded overall with scales. Moulded oval stand in the shape of a fish, oval in plan with shallow curved sides and edge. Both pieces are covered in a matt, apricot glaze, with pale green glaze lightly applied over on fins and tail and the pupil of the eye painted black.


History note: Purchased from N.J.Zolman, 1996

Legal notes

Given by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Place(s) associated

  • Stoke-on-Trent ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1996) by The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum


20th Century
Production date: circa AD 1935


Another ‘fish set’ was produced by A J Wilkinson in the 1920s/30s. Marked as designed by Clarice Cliff, items in this series have a cream ground and are decorated with a relief, polychrome fish.

Clarice Cliff (1899-1972) joined the pottery industry at 13, as a paintress. She joined A J Wilkinson in 1916 as a lithographer, rising to become a modeller and shape designer. After local evening classes, she studied at the Royal College of Art. In 1929, A J Wilkinson introduced her colourful Art Deco ‘Bizarre’ series, which established her as a well-known designer. In 1940 she married Arthur Colley Shorter, the managing director, and through him became a major shareholder in the family group, founded in the 1870s, which comprised Wilkinson, Newport Pottery and Shorter & Son. Her younger sister Dolly Cliff also worked at Wilkinson’s, supervising a team of specialist decorators, and some of her designs were later issued under Clarice’s name.

‘Fish ware’, one of Shorter & Son’s most popular designs, was first introduced in the late 1920s or early 1930s. A version similar to the Fitzwilliam items, and attributed to Clarice Cliff, is illustrated in ‘The Quiver’, December 1936, described as ‘in a delicious matt cream glaze in pottery [with] only softly subdued turquoise fins as colour accent'. In the 1950s a high glaze version was produced, in various colourways.

Components of the work

Stand Height 2.0 cm Length 16.5 cm Width 12.0 cm
Boat Height 9.7 cm Length 14.7 cm
Sauce Boat

Materials used in production

matt apricot and green Glaze

Techniques used in production

Glazing (coating)

Inscription or legends present

  • Location: On the base of both pieces
  • Method of creation: Greyish-black backstamp
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.29 & A-1996
Primary reference Number: 74211
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 15 January 2019 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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