Farmer (who founded Stourbridge firm Fieldings with Nick Davies in 2001) is already a regular on television via his role in the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow but he is about to make his acting debut in Sky Original’s The Colour Room which will be in cinemas, Sky Cinema and streaming service NowTV later this month.
According to writer Claire Peate, the film tells the story of “a young factory worker leaving her grim, industrial reality behind her and stepping into the rainbow of the Colour Room – a world of joy and possibility”.
Farmer, who hopes the promotion of the film will boost the profile of Clarice Cliff and the collecting market, began his involvement in the project in March.
“The only reason I am in this position with a part in the film is because I am gobby,” he added. After phone and video calls, the more he spoke the more the film-makers wanted to know. He was then asked to read and proof the script, and then became an historical adviser.
The team was intrigued by his stories – many of which came from information he had received when speaking with some of the ‘Bizarre girls’, the 70 young painters who worked at the Wilkinson factory. Farmer spent time with some of them when he first started out 35-plus years ago.
When asked how the production team could repay him for all his advice, he joked they could write him a part. They took him up on the suggestion and he plays a character from the ceramics industry in the film.
Filming took place in April and Farmer travelled to Stoke, Birmingham and Leek. “It was great to be part of a British film and director Claire McCarthy is fantastic.”
Price spike prediction
He adds: “I know it is a film, not a documentary, but they have got the essence of Clarice Cliff.”
Farmer, who has been holding dedicated Clarice Cliff sales for 15 years and sells 1000 pieces a year, predicts a spike in sales.
“This will bring new blood to the collecting area. The market for Clarice boomed in the late 1990s but then fell back. But in the last six months, since the talk of this film, there has been a fizz in the air, a real buzz. Clarice is so colourful and joyous you can only love it.”
Farmer added: “Clarice is the reason I became involved in art and antiques and became an auctioneer. I have collected her pottery since I was 12. To be in this film and work on it has been amazing.”
The film is co-produced by Sky, Caspian Films and Creative England and stars Phoebe Dynevor (of Netflix’s Bridgerton fame) as Cliff with factory owner Colley Shorter played by Matthew Goode.
Fieldings’ next Decorative Arts sale in Stourbridge on October 14-15 contains 350 lots of Clarice Cliff.