During World War II Henry Cliffe met the artist William Scott and then later, in 1946 Cliffe enrolled at Bath Academy of Art as a student. He was invited to stay and continued to teach there for many years. He worked throughout his life and enjoyed recognition both in the UK and abroad. He was given a one man show by The Redfern Gallery in 1956 and his work was shown at two Venice Biennales.
Cliffe was initially recognised as a print maker but his paintings and works on paper are just as strong. A studio sale at Phillips in 1996 brought his work to the forefront of the market and re-established a demand for his striking images.