Clarice Cliff, Phoebe Dynevor (“Bridgerton (TV)”, “Snatch (TV)”), is an aspiring artist in the world of pottery, plying her trade at the various potters in Stoke, England.
Generally, she finds herself moving from potters to potters because she is caught stealing clay, though off-cuts, and is sacked. This has enabled her to have a variety of position within the industry however.
She arrives at Wilkinson’s Pottery, the same place as her sister Dot, Darci Shaw (“The Irregulars (TV)”, “Judy”), and her sisters fiancé who is now supplying her with the clay she wants. However, he is caught and promptly sacked.
The next day Clarice takes the vase she made with the stolen clay to Wilkinson’s and is accosted by security and marched to see owners Colley Shorter, Matthew Goode (“Downton Abbey (TV)”, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”), and brother, Luke Norris (“Poldark (TV)”, “The Duchess”).
They sack her, but she shows them the vase and Colley, who has been trying to stave off the fate of so many other potters recently, that of bankruptcy, by trying something new, sees potential in what she has created.
Rather than sack her he puts her into the male-dominated world of modelling under the tutelage of Fred, David Morrissey (“The Walking Dead (TV)”, “Britannia (TV)”), despite none of the other men wanting her there.
At work, she is being left out of meetings, told to make the tea, whilst at home she is worrying about her sister Dot, who needs an operation, and has a cheating fiancé.
She pushes ahead with her own bright, colourful and very different range of pottery, which she names ‘Bizarre’, but it flops at the trade show which, as you’d may expect, is all men, whereas her pottery is aimed at women.
After the disaster of the trade show, an accident at the pottery which sees the company lose a lot of stock, Clarice is not flavour of the month and her ally, Colley, is ill with cancer at home.
Clarice doesn’t quit though, she persists, arguing that the way they sell her pottery is wrong. She points out that men don’t buy lipstick, or girly magazines, but women do, and people are making money from it, and that’s how they should sell the pottery, direct to women.
The rest, as they say, is history. Clarice Cliff pottery is now worth thousands and revered the world over. Stick around for the credits for real-life words from the painters who worked with Clarice in those early days.
The Colour Room is a nice, warming sort of movie. Despite all of the obstacles put in her way, Clarice never gives up and just plows through them with a smile on her face. This does mean that some of the obstacles, as big as they are/were, seem a little less so because she takes them in her stride and overcomes them pretty easily.
That’s not to play down what Clarice Cliff did, or faced, it’s awful the way she is treated, but I’m not sure that entirely comes over at all times in the movie. They can seem, well, trivial, at times, when I’m sure they very much were not.
12th November 2021
THE QUICK SELL
Clarice Cliff breaks the glass ceiling and revolutionizes the workplace at a pottery factory in 1920s England.