James Stiff (1808-97) was born in Rougham, Suffolk the son of Robert Stiff, a workhouse master and farmer. After working as a plasterers assistant he moved to London in 1826 to be apprenticed at the Coade Stone Manufactory.
By 1830 he was working for Doulton and Watts as a mould maker and in 1842 struck out on his own making water filters at a premises in Ferry Street, Lambeth. From there he moved to 39 High Street, and was sufficiently successful to be able to form the partnership with his sons in 1863.
By 1895 he was retired and he died in Swanage, Dorset in 1897.
James Stiff and Sons continued with a new partnership being form in 1903 when other members of the family after the death of William Stiff. This partnership was dissolved in 1912 with the business being sold to Royal Doulton in 1913.
As their product was so similar to other London stoneware the only marked items should be accepted as made by J Stiff and Sons. They are clearly marked with an oval device, as shown. Usually accompanied with incised marks which are probably job or order numbers.
Internet references include