Vintage Ceramics South Africa

Vintage Ceramics For Sale in South Africa



We have been appointed by an international buyer to procure all Louis Wain, Della Robbia, Ruskin, Martin Brothers and William de Morgan in South Africa if prices are reasonable. Other wares of interest are selected Clarice Cliff and Moorcroft.

Image sources:

Louis Wain
Della Robbia:
Della Robbia:
Ruskin: By Robmcrorie at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0,
Martin Brothers or martinware
William de Morgan

THE CLARICE CLIFF STORY — January 28, 2021


Clarice Cliff (by Will Farmer) eBook available from Google Books (Buy here)



Clarice Cliff is one of the most instantly recognisable ceramic designers of the twentieth century. Her distinctive ‘Bizarre’ pottery, with its vibrant colour palette and dynamic patterns on equally daring forms, epitomises the mood of the Jazz Age.

During the Depression, Clarice flooded homes with colour offering her customers a glimpse of something new and exciting, far removed from the formal and staid styles of the first quarter of the century. Hers was a true success story founded on hard work, determination and an unwavering clear vision. Clarice was different, as was her ceramic art: a unique combination of inspired thought and design brilliance that created the perfect recipe for success.

Clarice was modern and fashionable woman of her time who demonstrated that she also had the skill to be a successful business-woman. As an industrial designer she had great intuition for what the public wanted, and between 1927 and 1936, at a time of high Art Deco, her shapes, colours and patterns ‘delivered’ where her competitors fell short. Whilst many other ceramics designers looked back, Clarice grabbed the ‘new’ with both hands: Art Deco, Modernism and Cubism. With an open mind and positive attitude she recognised the best qualities in these movements and developed them into commercially successful domestic wares.

Inspired by themes and ideas of art and design movements from around the world, Clarice’s longing for change was transferred to the surface of the pots she so ingeniously created. This, combined with a shrewd understanding of business, resulted in a product that unashamedly burst onto the market, introducing the consumer of the day to an entirely new style.

Such was the demand for Clarice’s work that, at its peak, the A.J.Wilkinson factory was recorded as producing 18,000 pieces a week with a turnover of £2,000, double that of her nearest competitor. Her wares were exported around the globe as far away as North and South America, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Towards the end of the 1930’s, however, Clarice, ever wise in business realised that the entire spirit of the times was about to change and that she could no longer be quite so daring or experimental. Her wares still continued to sell but had lost the dynamic flair and excitement of those early years.

Today’s modern approach to women in business makes it difficult to appreciate just how successful Clarice was. Colley Shorter, her boss and later her husband, was a genius at promotion and publicity, and the levels of interest and press coverage received by her products were unprecedented; over 360 articles and reviews of her distinctive Bizarre ware were published during the key years of 1927 to 1936. Compare this to one of her most well-known competitors of the day – Susie Cooper – who achieved barely twenty in the same period. In recent years a huge amount of new research has re-appraised Clarice the designer, the businesswoman and, most importantly, the artist.

End of excerpt

If anyone has Clarice Cliff we can check with our network of collectors locally and abroad if they would be interested in buying them. Clarice Cliff was sold in South Africa and we have some interesting and unique examples. Please get in touch through our contact-us form or DM / message us on Instagram, Facebook or on WhatsApp (number on the contact- us page).

Prices paid for Clarice Cliff

They fetch higher prices in the UK. Visit to get a general idea, but do remember that some Clarice Cliff crockery pieces like plates fetch very little and collectors in South Africa pay a fraction of what overseas collectors pay.

See this example of price discrepancy – but definitely an opportunity for collectors.

Same item for sale – on two opposing online platforms: in South Africa and from the UK.

More Clarice Cliff resources:


Vintage Ceramics South Africa reserve the rights to publish this extract for the purposes of research.




This blog post is an extract from the online website GOV.UK, an official website for the UK government to find government services and information. Source:


Many ceramics are collectable, but not all are of historic interest. To be considered for historic interest ceramics must meet the following conditions:

  • they must have a certain rarity value
  • they are not normally still being used for their original purpose
  • when they are bought and sold, the transaction is of a special nature that’s significantly different from the normal trade in similar utility articles
  • they are of high monetary value
  • they illustrate a significant step in the evolution of human achievements or a period of that evolution. For example, this may be the use of a new ceramic production technique or the ceramic piece itself might represent a period of human history

There are certain ceramic designers and makers whose work is considered to be of historic interest. Some of these designers and makers – along with details of their most important pieces of work – are listed below.

Burleigh Ware

Burleigh Ware of historical interest includes:

  • the relatively common parrot and kingfisher handles
  • the rarer cricketer, tennis player, golfer and soldier of the 1930s
  • the 1940s toby jug depicting Sir Winston Churchill with a bulldog peeping out from between his legs


Pieces of the Art Deco period.

Clarice Cliff

The Bizarre, Fantasque, Crocus and Applique pieces produced between 1928 and 1936.

Crown Devon

All pieces from the 1930s.

Hans Coper

All statues.

John Ruskin Pottery

All pieces.


The Cannes design by British architect Sir Hugh Casson, who played an important part in the Festival of Britain.


Pieces designed by William Moorcroft between 1913 and 1945.

Poole pottery

Poole pottery of particular significance includes:

  • the work of Art Deco designers John Adams and Truda Carter, and Harold and Phoebe Stabler from the 1920s and 1930s
  • pieces from the 1950s
  • the Delphis range made in the 1960s and 1970s
  • the Studio Ware range by designer and maker Robert Jefferson, who opened a branch of the pottery to produce experimental pieces

Rosenthal of Bavaria

All pieces.

Royal Doulton

Royal Doulton pieces of historical interest include:

  • the Toucan that was produced between 1920 and 1946. Although it had a long production run, it was not a popular piece at the time and is now rare and highly sought after
  • the figure designed in 1919 by sculptress Phoebe Stabler

Susie Cooper

Pieces produced in the 1930s.

TG Green

Cornish Ware produced between 1928 and 1960.

The Shelley factory

Art Deco tableware pieces, in particular the ranges of children’s wares designed by Mabel Lucie Atwell.

The Goldscheider factory

Art Deco figurines produced in the 1920s and 1930s.


The three polar bears on an ice floe produced in the 1950s. This is a rare example and fetches high prices.


The pigs produced in the 1930s.

Commemorative jugs of Edward Heath and Harold Wilson from the 1970s are also considered to be of historical interest because there’s so little commemorative ware relating to these two British Prime Ministers.