Is there a chance you have an unknown Rembrandt or a forged Leonardo? The race is now on to discover unattributed treasures or counterfeits currently languishing in the dimly lit corridors and turrets of Britain. With its rich and bloody history Philip Mould believes there are some wonderful works of art waiting to be unearthed that would benefit from ‘Fake or Fortune?’s rigorous research. After securing high viewing figures for a programme of fine art in the first series, ‘Fake or Fortune?’ has been re-commissioned by BBC1 to set this crack art sleuthing duo on the trail of lost masters to provide the perfect ‘Whodunnit’ art crime scene for next year.
After painstaking research by Philip Mould and his team a Scottish masterpiece has been re-discovered. Originally mis-identified at auction as ‘a portrait of a young girl’, it has been revealed to be a rare and important portrait of James I & VI (1566-1625) at the age of 9. The picture is thought to be the first portrait of James in full adult court dress and as such may have been used to enhance his authority. In addition, conservation and research have revealed that it was painted on top of another (much earlier) religious painting of a saint, giving a fascinating glimpse of how religious art was viewed during the Reformation in Scotland. An infra-red image shows the saint’s head and hands clearly visible beneath the portrait of James.
The current portrait was created in the workshop of James VI’s court painter Arnold Bronckorst (fl.1565-83) and uses the likeness from Bronckhorst’s portrait of 1574 held in the National Gallery of Scotland. James’ accession to the throne as King of England, thus unifying the two crowns of England and Scotland, was realised in 1603 when Elizabeth I died.
Filming in 2012 starts in January and runs through till March so time is definitely of the essence. Inclusion in the programme provides a unique opportunity to subject a work to the intense academic knowledge and scrutiny of Philip Mould, the gallery’s in-house art historian Dr Bendor Grosvenor as well as a team of outsourced forensic experts.
This is an unmissable opportunity for anybody probing into the provenance of a picture; an investigation of this quality would normally cost thousands of pounds to run. Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce are on the lookout NOW – the time is ripe to wipe away those cobwebs and reveal the lurking promise of a masterpiece in your attic. If you have a painting that you think Philip and Fiona should look at, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.