Dennis – The Fake Potter of Stratford-Upon-Avon

Dennis Potter could fire emotion into a teapot and devotion into the art pottery market.

His pottery could move you in the strangest ways.  But for one connoisseur of late 20th century agateware, an obsession to own one of Potter’s rarest designs led to tragedy, and a loss of lustre for the international tiffinware market.

What is it that makes a simple teapot so desirable?  The exact formula is disputed.  But whatever it is, Dennis Potter seemed to have cornered that desire and secured it in bright and challenging glazes.

There is something about the form, colour and texture of his pieces that encapsulates something deeply moving.  At first the mingling of clays, such as peach and trout, or her white clays stained with oxides of steel, can appear distressing to an unpracticed eye.  After a closer study, however, his ability to draw an emotional reaction from an exhibition of otherwise common objects, as seen in his acclaimed 1997 collection of teapots and associated items, explains the rivalry for ownership of his first decade pieces that only intensified after his early death from kiln’s syndrome.

Art of immense value, according to the Guild of Tiffinware Collectors, captures moments of innovation; those moments when an enduring step forward is made.  Dennis Potter’s inherent ability to engage directly with your emotions, almost bypassing the cynical resistance of the eyes and touching the emotional nerve directly, was a leap forward that propelled the humblest of objects into the pantheon of high art.

For a 20th century ceramics dealer, such as Luca Collector OBE, with a network of connoisseurs of the émotteur movement of the later 1980s and 90s, the value of agateware masterpieces, epitomised by Dennis Potter’s tiffinware, was also reflected in the social status that came from handling such works.

Luca Collector could reach any buyer through his extended network.  He had an ability to connect with people that easily created an alternative world where a teapot could move a Collector to tears.  His ability to network with every type of individual created a paradigm in which Dennis Potter became an essential ceramics artist to the collecting elite.

I recall the words of one buyer, explaining having paid a record price for a teapot from Potter’s incandescent orange range, that “acquiring just one of Potter’s Traurige teapots from the late 1990s transformed my ceramics collection covering the last 200 years into a poignant display of the raw power of decorative pottery.”