Dennis – The Fake Potter of Stratford-Upon-Avon
Dennis Potter could fire emotion into a teapot and devotion into the art pottery market.
Luca’s network of dealers and buyers was gripped by a common understanding of Dennis Potter’s works that formed almost entirely through the personal and business interactions that Luca fostered. The collective frenzy for Potter’s pots was spiralling upwards, as rarity drove demand which in turn increased rarity. The golden yellow glaze teapots had become so desirable that owning one had come to define the self-worth of a discerning buyer. One buyer described one of his teapots as the deep manganese equivalent of magic mushrooms.
It is said that there is often a pivotal moment when common understanding changes: the discovery of a hair-shirt after the murder of Thomas a’Becket; the change in wind direction in September 1066 allowing William to cross the Channel as Harold rushed North to meet Hardrada.
The decisive moment came in the tiffinware world when the desire to possess one of Potter’s pots became too much for one collector. He fell to his death clutching a Potter teapot whilst being chased across the gardens of the hilltop mansion of one of the world’s richest art collectors. The collector-cum-burglar could have made a clean escape if he had not attempted to reach for a milk jug in deep cerulean from a display cabinet in an alarmed side room.
The moment when that teapot shattered seemed also to break the hold that Luca had on the tiffinware market.
A movement that began at the fringes of the world of agateware came to the attention of a sceptical audience, for whom tiffin came in a brown teapot from a hardware store that was wedded to a spout that dripped if not poured with care. Suddenly there were critics looking to pour cold water on this boiling corner of the art pottery market. They argued that the quality of Potter’s teapots did not justify the furore created. The pull on the emotions of these glazed colours was just an artificial creation through the influence that Luca exerted through his tight network of contacts
This wave of scepticism would have been assigned to a bin labelled ‘envy from the illiterati’ had the attention not resulted in an Investigator unearthing the real story of Dennis-the-Potter.
There was finally a limit to the reach of Luca’s influence. Spending so much time extending his network and profiting from the illusion he had created, Luca was undone by his loss of control of its deceitful beginnings. Dennis Potter, it turned out, had only ever existed as a brand dreamt up by Luca Collector. Dennis Potter’s pots were designed by Luca to be unique in their extreme use of colour: a uniqueness on which he could construct his illusion of the deeply emotional connection of the tiffinware teapot.
Luca’s real creation was that of an avid tiffinware collector whose life held no value without the experience of a contrived emotional intensity, which only a teapot of uniquely shocking colour combination could satisfy.