In the first-floor space at a small gallery in the centre of Dorking, a vitrine contains a body of functional work in ceramic (it may be in porcelain " the gallery didn't know) 'by' Jean Cocteau. Except that it is not by Cocteau at all; it has been authorised for production by the Cocteau estate 40-odd years after his death.
Cocteau did many wonderful things. He made Orphe (twice " in 1951 and 1959), one of the most important films of the 20th century; he wrote a great short novel called Les Enfants Terribles in 1929; he wrote plays and many poems, including an early 'Ode to Picasso'. He made some art, too: lean and simple, Picasso-like drawings, and lithographs. He was
also a legendary figure on the margins of Surrealism, and a friend to Matisse and Picasso.
Cocteau was never widely applauded as a ceramicist. Yet according to a press release that shows almost no knowledge of who he was or what he stood for, his estate has authorised the production of a group of bland ceramic pieces embellished with line illustrations by Cocteau. …