|Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould|
Through a combination of sleuthing and scientific testing, the Fake or Fortune team try to prove the authenticity or otherwise of the featured paintings. One astonishing fact to emerge from the series is that it is estimated that between 20-40% of works of art on the market are faked, so as well as there being a huge amount of money at stake, there is also presumably plenty of material for our sleuths to work with!
|Courtauld's '17th century painting', 'The Procuress'|
To prove that he had not sold Dutch cultural property to the Nazis, Van Meegeren had to confess to multiple forgeries. His subsequent trial caused a sensation when it was revealed for years he had duped art collectors and galleries into purchasing apparently Old Master paintings. As Van Meegeren died before a complete record of his fakes was made, mystery survives to this day as to how many are still out there. Philip and Fiona get to work on the London picture which, legend has it, hung in Van Meegeren's studio on the day he was arrested. Was it his last work? And by testing it, can it be proved prove how he out-foxed some of the most eminent minds in the art world?
The programme was fascinating and along the way we got to see Scotland Yard's storeroom full of fakes and latter-day forger John Myatt trying to reproduce Van Meergeren's techniques which involved painting a copy of Vermeer's The Girl with the Pearl Earring using a toxic mix of oil paint and corrosive bakelite resin.
Super stuff and I'll be rivetted to the final episode next week :0)
Brief Encounters is available now as an e-book, and in September as a paperback.
Fake or Fortune is currently showing on BBC1 at 7pm on Sunday evenings :0)