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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

Relative size of this object

37.3 cm4.7 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

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: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "'Fish set' serving dish" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-11-29 00:27:32

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