15 August 2019, The Tablet

Fake picture news

Fake picture news

Fake or Fortune

On insomniac nights when I am lying awake planning my desert island discs, a boxed set of Fake or Fortune, running now to nearly 100 episodes, is the top contender for my luxury item: it’s just the relaxing yet stimulating break I’d need from my close study of the Bible and Shakespeare.

For those who have yet to experience the sheer joy that is Fake or Fortune, now in its eighth series, it works like this. Every week the team – compromising art dealer Philip Mould and broadcasting workhorse Fiona Bruce (pictured) – are presented with a picture that might or might not be a genuine work by someone famous. Their job (with the help of experts, archivists and restorers) is, with the work’s eager current owners, to follow the picture and its owners into the past to see if they can ascertain whether what looks like a Gainsborough, say, really is a Gainsborough or a cunning forgery, or something by someone that may be more interesting than either.

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