Friday, 29 April 2011


FAKE WORKS created in the style of famous artists Banksy and Tracey Emin will feature in a prestigious exhibition at Bolton Museum. These previously unseen pieces will form part of the Fakes and Forgeries exhibition, which opened at the museum on Saturday, April 16 and will continue till July.

The exhibition, which was created by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Art and Antiques Unit, also includes the Amarna Princess statue crafted by convicted Bolton forger Shaun Greenhalgh. The Amarna will form the centrepiece of the exhibition, which was launched at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in January last year.

There will be a reconstruction of Shaun Greenhalgh’s garden shed – where he made his forgeries – and a collection of his other works, such as the Risley Park Lanx, Barbara Hepworth’s Goose, and Thomas Moran paintings. Other objects on display will include fake antiquities by John Andrews and forged silverware by Peter Ashley Russell, paintings by renowned forgers John Myatt and Robert Thwaites.

Robert Thwaites, a forger who made more than £120,000 from the sale of two fake paintings, was jailed for two years in September 2006. Thwaites tricked Antiques Roadshow art expert Rupert Maas into paying £20,000 for one of his copies. London gallery owner Maas sold on The Miser purported to be by John Anster Fitzgerald for a profit of 300%. Thwaites, from Leek, Staffs, made more than £100,000 from another Fitzgerald fake called 'Going To The Masked Ball'.

Since appearing at the V&A, the Art and Antiques Unit have introduced some Tracey Emin fakes by Jonathan Rayfern and added some different Banksy fakes. Jonathan Rayfern, a 32 year-old ex-art student from Manchester was sentenced to 16 months at the Manchester Crown Court last October. He had sold at least 11 fakes on Ebay including sketches on fabric and a pencil drawing and made about £26,000. Ten items had been sold to a Gallery owner in Warwick. In his defence he said that he had been trying to pay off loan sharks. Commenting on the Rayfern case at the time the 'artist' Tracy Emin said: 'My artwork is deeply personal and comes from my heart. It hurts and distresses me to see these fakes and forgeries that have no regard, respect or understanding of what I do.'

The free exhibition will appear at Bolton Museum until Saturday, July 2.

Estimating the chances of buying a forgery:

· Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, has estimated that up to 40% of the art market is comprised of some type of forged art.

· It has been suggested that only half of the 600 works supposedly painted by Rembrandt are genuine and as many as 10% of modern French paintings may be forgeries.

· The 20th century's most famous forger was Han van Meegeren, confessed in 1945 to having forged several Vermeers, including The Supper at Emmaus, which scholars had proclaimed a masterpiece.

· In the 1980s and 1990s, British forger John Myatt infiltrated the art market with fake Giacomettis, Ben Nicholsons and Graham Sutherlands.

· In the late 1980s, Eric Hebborn claimed he faked and sold more than 1,000 old-master drawings to institutions including the British Library.

Copies of Northern Voices 10 with our report on the Bolton forger Shaun Greenhalgh from Bromley Cross is still available. To obtain a copy send a cheque for £2.20 payable to 'Northern Voices' to: 52, Todmorden Road, Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH.

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