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Clarice Cliff Applique Etna pattern charger sold for £18,500 at Fieldings.

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It is 21 years ago, in May 2003, that the auction record for Clarice Cliff was sent tumbling when a May Avenue pattern charger sold for £34,000 at Christie’s South Kensington.

However, the highest bid at auction in the collecting field for some years was posted on March 14 when another 18in (46cm) ribbed charger in the Applique Etna pattern sold for £18,500 at Fieldings in Stourbridge to an online buyer via thesaleroom.com.

The Applique Etna design c.1930 embodies many of the features that Clarice Cliff collectors covet. It is boldly hand painted with an Art Deco stylised landscape with trees to the foreground and a mountain below a deep orange sky.

This exact charger (that is in perfect condition save a few scuffs to the enamels) was used by Clarice Cliff in a well-known period promotional photograph where she is posed as if painting the piece. However, it is likely it had already been fired otherwise the wet enamels would have smudged her coat. Fieldings estimated it at £10,000-15,000.

The auction house – that recently sold its 10,000th piece of Newport Pottery Bizarre ware after 16 years of biannual sales - said the March selection of 300 lots was ‘one of the most significant offerings of her work in decades’. Some of the key pieces in the sale were returning to market after 30 years, this charger last sold at CSK in November 1994 for £11,000 (£12,100 including premium).

It was the second highest price Fieldings had realised for Clarice Cliff, next to another example of the May Avenue charger sold for £20,500 in May 2009.