Fake or Fortune: ‘Really?’ Fiona Bruce stunned as expert unveils painting forgery detail
Philip and Fiona set about investigating an impressive pitting of a Venetian view on the BBC programme.
It was brought to the show by Nick Hopkinson as it had been in his family for four generations – but the painting was shrouded in mystery.
The back of of the picture bore two labels from the Royal Academy with one naming Marieschi as the artist, and the other Guardi.
However, while both artists were known for their paintings of Venice, if Nick’s picture were by Mmariaechsi it could be expected to fetch £500,000 compared to a Guardi which could be worth up to £10 million.
Fiona made it known early on in the show that it could be a huge find as she said it could potentially be “the most valuable painting ever looked at on Fake or Fortune.”
But doubts were raised about the authenticity of the painting considering the amount of fakes of Venetian views which had been in heavy circulation years ago.
Philip declared: “It’s quite possible that is was someone who was a follower of Marieschi.”
However, as Philip and Fiona went further into the investigation there were more promising signs.
The paint was looked at with a x-ray gun to explore the colour paints which had been used, and Philip was pleased to hear there were no traces of cobalt.
Elsewhere, Fiona investigated a wax seal on the back and found it had “Florence” stamped into it and as she visited the Italian city, she found it could bring the painting closer to being considered a Marieschi due to the timings in which it had passed through the the Supreme Majesty of Florence.
But the final verdict was down to leading expert on Marieschi Charles Beddington who appeared at the end of the programme to give his verdict.
READ MORE: Fake or Fortune: ‘That’s harsh’ Fiona Bruce disagrees with Philip in awkward stand-off
However, it was bad news for Nick as Charles shared: “I’ve given this picture a lot of thought. It doesn’t have the distinctive touch of Marieschi or Guardi, both of whom who are very individual or distinctive artists.
“I don’t feel like it is likely to be generally accepted as by either.”
Fiona then interrupted to say: “Hang on, Nick is taking this in here. You’re saying that Nick’s picture is not a Marieschi?”
“I fear not,” Charles replied. “It’s a composition that was originally invented by Marieschi but most of the paintings of this composition are by imitators.”
He added: “My thought is that maybe it’s by an English artist.”
“Really?” a shocked Fiona asked as Charles went on: “One detail which supports rather strongly that the artist was not Venetian is the misunderstanding of this church that has sort of become two buildings because whoever painting this didn’t understand that this and that are part of the same thing.
“That to me strongly suggests someone who is unfamiliar with Venetian topography.”
Fiona went on: “For this to be English, that Florentine seal on the back that we got so excited about has to be in someway…”
“Duplicitous,” Charles interjected as he said: “I can’t help thinking it was put on there as a sort of Made in Italy stamp to disguise the fact it was made in London to give in an extra authenticity.”
“I find that extraordinary,” Nick exclaimed.
However, Philip did relate that the painting wasn’t entirely worthless as it could expect to fetch £20,000.
Nick responded: “It’s been part of my life since I was a child and I’m very much attached to it. I’d like to leave it to my children so that’s how I feel.”
Fake or Fortune? is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.