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'Fish set' serving dish: C.30-1996

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


'Fish set' serving dish


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




Earthenware serving dish in the shape of a fish glazed in matt apricot and green, and painted with black enamel.

Earthenware dish moulded in the shape of a fish, oval in plan with deep curved sides and rim. The interior is moulded with scales, a fin, and the mouth, eye and gill of the fish. Three spur marks on underside at top and bottom and on one tail fin. The whole piece is 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

Measurements and weight

Height: 4.7 cm
Length: 37.3 cm
Width: 28.3 cm

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. The Fitzwilliam holds a serving bowl and cover, a sauce boat and stand, a serving dish/plate and six small dishes/plates in this series. A similar version is illustrated in ‘The Quiver’, December 1936; it is attributed to Clarice Cliff, and 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.

School or Style

Art Deco

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Moulding : Earthenware, moulded, covered with matt pale apricot glaze overall, and painted with green glaze on the fins, and with black enamel on the eye.
Glazing (coating)

Inscription or legends present

  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: A faint, greyish-black backstamp
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.30-1996
Primary reference Number: 74327
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Thursday 3 August 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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