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The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures

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The art world has never seemed quite so treacherous, so beguiling- and so much fun What separates a masterpiece from a piece of junk? Thanks to the BBC's "Antiques Roadshow" and its American spin-off, everyone is searching garage sales and hunting online for hidden gems, wondering whether their attics contain trash or treasures. In "The Art Detective," Philip Mould, one o The art world has never seemed quite so treacherous, so beguiling- and so much fun What separates a masterpiece from a piece of junk? Thanks to the BBC's "Antiques Roadshow" and its American spin-off, everyone is searching garage sales and hunting online for hidden gems, wondering whether their attics contain trash or treasures. In "The Art Detective," Philip Mould, one of the world's foremost authorities on British portraiture and an irreverent and delightful expert for the "Roadshow," serves up his secrets and his best stories, blending the technical details of art detection and restoration with juicy tales peopled by a range of eccentric collectors, scholars, forgers, and opportunists. Peppered with practical advice, each chapter focuses on one particular painting and the mystery that surrounds it. Mould is our trusty detective, tracking down clues, uncovering human foibles and following hunches until the truth is revealed. Mould is known for his ability to crack the toughest puzzles and whether he's writing about a fake Norman Rockwell, a hidden Rembrandt, or a lost Gainsborough, he brings both the art and the adventure to life. "The Art Detective" is memoir, mystery, art history, and brilliant yarn all rolled into one.


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The art world has never seemed quite so treacherous, so beguiling- and so much fun What separates a masterpiece from a piece of junk? Thanks to the BBC's "Antiques Roadshow" and its American spin-off, everyone is searching garage sales and hunting online for hidden gems, wondering whether their attics contain trash or treasures. In "The Art Detective," Philip Mould, one o The art world has never seemed quite so treacherous, so beguiling- and so much fun What separates a masterpiece from a piece of junk? Thanks to the BBC's "Antiques Roadshow" and its American spin-off, everyone is searching garage sales and hunting online for hidden gems, wondering whether their attics contain trash or treasures. In "The Art Detective," Philip Mould, one of the world's foremost authorities on British portraiture and an irreverent and delightful expert for the "Roadshow," serves up his secrets and his best stories, blending the technical details of art detection and restoration with juicy tales peopled by a range of eccentric collectors, scholars, forgers, and opportunists. Peppered with practical advice, each chapter focuses on one particular painting and the mystery that surrounds it. Mould is our trusty detective, tracking down clues, uncovering human foibles and following hunches until the truth is revealed. Mould is known for his ability to crack the toughest puzzles and whether he's writing about a fake Norman Rockwell, a hidden Rembrandt, or a lost Gainsborough, he brings both the art and the adventure to life. "The Art Detective" is memoir, mystery, art history, and brilliant yarn all rolled into one.

30 review for The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lance Charnes

    When you go to a car dealer, you can be reasonably sure that Toyota or BMW or Ford is, indeed, a Toyota or BMW or Ford. The dealer doesn't have to trace the VIN through the whole supply chain back to the factory to confirm the nameplate's legit. Simple. Not so much for buying art. Rembrandt didn't put serial numbers on his paintings. Famous artists had schools and followers who learned how to paint or sculpt the way the master did, started or helped with the master's works, maybe knocked off a ca When you go to a car dealer, you can be reasonably sure that Toyota or BMW or Ford is, indeed, a Toyota or BMW or Ford. The dealer doesn't have to trace the VIN through the whole supply chain back to the factory to confirm the nameplate's legit. Simple. Not so much for buying art. Rembrandt didn't put serial numbers on his paintings. Famous artists had schools and followers who learned how to paint or sculpt the way the master did, started or helped with the master's works, maybe knocked off a canvas on the side for a client who wanted the look but not the price. Over the course of decades or centuries, the varnish yellows and clouds, the piece gets damaged or altered, and restorers (or, especially in the old days, "restorers") may overpaint the original work to "fix" it. It finally lands on an easel in a gallery or auction house and the questions begin: is this an original or copy? Who really created it? What's it worth? What a modern dealer does with such dilemmas depends on his ambition, honesty, and desire to solve the puzzle. Philip Mould, this book's titular art detective, runs a successful London gallery specializing in 16th-19th Century portraits, and as such appears to regularly find himself grappling with these problems. Devotees of the British version of Antiques Roadshow may recognize his name. This book is a collection of stories of his adventures. Each of the six "cases" takes him down a trail that often leads across oceans, through archives and museums, and into the homes of the great and humble. Mould is an able and personable narrator. Learned, literate, yet self-deprecating, he manages to avoid the stuffed-shirt tone common to art experts speaking about art. These are the tales he might tell at a dinner party in a posh Kensington townhome or over drinks at the club, and in much the same way. He manages to minimize his use of specialist-speak (the often impenetrable argot of the art world) and usually takes care to explain what he's up to and why. He also avoids the pitfall of "I" -- making it sound like he's the one doing all the heavy lifting. He regularly includes his extended network of employees, colleagues, friends and contacts in Europe and North America and credits them with their contributions to his sleuthing. This is essentially a short-story anthology and has the episodic nature common to such things. Don't expect a strong throughline or to have any overall summing-up. Surprisingly, the client rarely appears; the point to all of Mould's detecting is to fetch the best price for the work in question, but we rarely see the purchaser's reaction to all this work or hear from them whether any of it has the intended effect. (Indeed, at least two of the stories involve work done for museums, which is interesting but hardly a gallerist's typical calling.) The book is tightly bound to the art markets in Britain and the American Northeast, with their similar attitudes and standards. It would've been nice to see Mould carry out his work in the wider global art market, and perhaps learn how, say, Chinese or Mideastern clients and institutions react to his brand of truth-seeking. The Art Detective is an entertaining and engaging account of real-life detective work in the rather odd world of art collecting. Its narrator is easy to get along with, and the supporting characters are often equally colorful. If you're at all interested in how we figure out whether a painting is a masterpiece or hotel art, this is a good place to start.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    Mould is a little too casual and chatty for my taste, although I'm sure I'd enjoy him on Antiques Roadshow. I'm interested in the topic - art restoration, misattributions, connoisseurship, the detective work of finding out who really painted something - but I'd rather either see it done on the telly, or read more academic works about it. The book, though small, has two sections of color plates, which is nice. Without them I think it would be exceedingly boring. With them, we can compare before a Mould is a little too casual and chatty for my taste, although I'm sure I'd enjoy him on Antiques Roadshow. I'm interested in the topic - art restoration, misattributions, connoisseurship, the detective work of finding out who really painted something - but I'd rather either see it done on the telly, or read more academic works about it. The book, though small, has two sections of color plates, which is nice. Without them I think it would be exceedingly boring. With them, we can compare before and after Rembrandts, definitive Gainsboroughs vs. "follower of Ruisdael", real vs. fake Norman Rockwells. The most interesting details involve things like what the Hermitage Museum did in the first half of the 20th century, removing paintings from their damaged wood panels and transferring them to canvas, which turned out to be a terrible idea, sometimes altering the paint surface itself when the adhesive leached through or when too much wood was planed off, damaging canvas or paint. I also appreciated his distinction between art history and connoisseurship. The art historian, whose expertise is more theoretical, may not always be the best connoisseur, whose expertise is practical. The connoisseur, someone whose expertise is "defining and recognizing the strokes of the master," is going to be more helpful in Mould's line of work than the art historian.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amelia

    Really enjoyed this book, but I will say, it's definitely a niche book, so to speak. I was acquainted with Philip Mould through the British Antiques Roadshow. I always enjoyed his segments, and I have a large interest in art, art history, and the art market, so it seemed like a good fit for me. I found all the "cases" very interesting and I enjoyed Mould's style of writing. He has a very rich vocabulary, which is rarely encountered in our world today, and I found that particularly refreshing. Ad Really enjoyed this book, but I will say, it's definitely a niche book, so to speak. I was acquainted with Philip Mould through the British Antiques Roadshow. I always enjoyed his segments, and I have a large interest in art, art history, and the art market, so it seemed like a good fit for me. I found all the "cases" very interesting and I enjoyed Mould's style of writing. He has a very rich vocabulary, which is rarely encountered in our world today, and I found that particularly refreshing. Admittedly, if you are not interested in art history, you probably won't find it as fascinating as I did, but I went to college for a time as an art history major, so this book follows my inclinations. Overall, a lovely and entertaining book!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ed Smiley

    As an art freak I enjoyed this book. The episodes were of varying interest to me, what I found most fascinating was the "bad restorer" problem. Say you have a 17th century masterpiece but with a bit of damage. Now if you were clever, you could just paint the damaged areas. But that takes an annoying amount of patience. Instead, just slather a bunch of paint over the area and keep blending until it sort of looks OK but obliterating a large amount of the original work, and maybe this happens a coup As an art freak I enjoyed this book. The episodes were of varying interest to me, what I found most fascinating was the "bad restorer" problem. Say you have a 17th century masterpiece but with a bit of damage. Now if you were clever, you could just paint the damaged areas. But that takes an annoying amount of patience. Instead, just slather a bunch of paint over the area and keep blending until it sort of looks OK but obliterating a large amount of the original work, and maybe this happens a couple of more times, all the while dust embedding into aging browning varnish. Before you know it, you have an obscure painting by "a follower of" or "in the manner of" the master, or maybe mistaken for the creation of an entirely different artist, and valued at a fraction of the price that the work as originally conceived would command. So if like Mould, your job is to find lost masterpieces buried under the gunk, there is considerable drama and risk, but also a tremendous upside potential after the work of restoration. Although he is in a treu business, there are for him considerable non-monetary compensations, such as testing his connoisseur and wits, living in the presence of beautifully crafted objects.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mauri

    Four and a half stars for not being able to put it down, for being well-structured, and for above all being fascinating. Mould walks the reader through the world of expensive art deals, from discovering paintings rotting away in barns to forgeries to slogging through fields to find the exact site where a masterpiece was born. He and his staff and the buyers and sellers they meet come across as real people that you might want to meet and chat with. Mould has a skill for slowly revealing the myste Four and a half stars for not being able to put it down, for being well-structured, and for above all being fascinating. Mould walks the reader through the world of expensive art deals, from discovering paintings rotting away in barns to forgeries to slogging through fields to find the exact site where a masterpiece was born. He and his staff and the buyers and sellers they meet come across as real people that you might want to meet and chat with. Mould has a skill for slowly revealing the mystery behind a painting or situation. You get the feeling that he’s told these stories at parties and dinners countless times and has perfected his delivery, and that somehow he’s managed to transfer that to print as well. One half star off because Mould seems like a cool guy and then he’ll mention some interaction with someone he doesn’t think is on his high level and boy does he come off as a pompous snob.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sierra The Book Addict

    Was a every interesting read, gave good insight on the art bidding and dealing world. I appreciate the time and effort to explain the things I knew little about in this subject.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Malczewski

    a bunch of stories about a subject i should have found interesting, but i was kind of bored throughout. this is not a mystery,

  8. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    It was an interesting look into the work of a gallery owner. The stories behind the art works and their acquisitions were interesting. But the title was really not reflective of the material. “Fakes, Frauds and Finds” were promised but each of the stories were about successful acquisitions of genuine pieces of art by known artists. I don’t blame the author for focusing on his triumphs but I feel the text didn’t deliver what the title promised. Other than that, I learned that you should always kee It was an interesting look into the work of a gallery owner. The stories behind the art works and their acquisitions were interesting. But the title was really not reflective of the material. “Fakes, Frauds and Finds” were promised but each of the stories were about successful acquisitions of genuine pieces of art by known artists. I don’t blame the author for focusing on his triumphs but I feel the text didn’t deliver what the title promised. Other than that, I learned that you should always keep your colas away from your art.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beka

    An interesting collection of stories about lost and found art treasures from one of the hosts of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow. Interesting enough even if you don't know a lot about art, although it might have even more significance if you did.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jason Golomb

    I received "The Art Detectives" as part of the Goodreads First Read program. I'm not an art connoisseur by any stretch, although I do have my tastes and don't mind the occasional museum stroll. I love history and I love a good story. When you combine art, history and terrific storytelling, you come out with a book like "The Art Detectives" by Philip Mould. The book is structured around 6 specific paintings, and the mysteries that surround/surrounded them. Mould is a fantastic writer. He's clear, c I received "The Art Detectives" as part of the Goodreads First Read program. I'm not an art connoisseur by any stretch, although I do have my tastes and don't mind the occasional museum stroll. I love history and I love a good story. When you combine art, history and terrific storytelling, you come out with a book like "The Art Detectives" by Philip Mould. The book is structured around 6 specific paintings, and the mysteries that surround/surrounded them. Mould is a fantastic writer. He's clear, concise and sometimes poetic. It's an odd thing to focus on when considering a work of non-fiction, but his writing is as expressive and pronounced as anything I've read recently. Mould avoids the pretension, condescension and patronizing tone that one might expect from a book on high art. And surprisingly, each story is a strong tale in and of itself. At their best, they are very personal, human and touching. At their worst, they're simply good mysteries that Mould unravels layer-by-layer with a blending of personal insight, relevant experiences, historical background and significance. And it all flows beautifully through his solid prose and storytelling abilities. The strongest tale is of Moulds' meetings with an eccentric hoarder named Earle Newton. The story ranges from their first interactions, to their first and subsequent visits. Newton is more of an "ammasser" than he is a collector, and the real heart of the narrative is Newton's wackiness and the impact of his hoarding on his family. Family is also at the heart of a story that centers on a well known art deception (and recovery) of a Norman Rockwell painting. After subtle clues circulate around Rockwell's "Break Home Ties", two brothers hunt for the truth of whether their father owned a real Rockwell, and whether or not he knew it was a fake. Mould does an amazing job of making art history accessible and interesting. All of his stories involve the detective work required to identify what is genuine and authentic from what is a pretender. Mould is both eloquent and passionate in "Mystery of the Missing Gainsborough" and "The Rembrandt in Disguise". Tudor England is the focus of "A Queen in Distress", and colonial Caribbean in "A Winslow Homer Lost and Found" as Mould turns art and history into compelling mysteries. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to readers of history, mysteries and certainly art.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Mr. Mould is a dealer is British art and Old Masters as well as being a featured art expert on BBC episodes of The Antiques Road Show. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on British portraiture. One would think this would lead to a stuffy textbook like approach to his writing. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the reader gets to know Mr. Mould through his book it becomes quite obvious that he truly enjoys what he does and writes about it with enthusiasm and quite often Mr. Mould is a dealer is British art and Old Masters as well as being a featured art expert on BBC episodes of The Antiques Road Show. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on British portraiture. One would think this would lead to a stuffy textbook like approach to his writing. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the reader gets to know Mr. Mould through his book it becomes quite obvious that he truly enjoys what he does and writes about it with enthusiasm and quite often a sense of humor. In this book he discusses topics ranging from outright art fraud through to the intricate steps taken to restore damaged pieces of priceless art. He focuses primarily on six individual items ranging from the discovery of a rare portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth I, a copied Rockwell that turns out to be an original and a Hogarth painting haphazardly stored amongst a hoarder’s trove. Reading this book was like traveling the world as an observer into the world of discovering fine (and sometimes not so fine) works of art. Very enjoyable.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    When I first received this book through the first-reads program, I had expected a collection of stories chronicling the rarified world of the museum setting. Instead Philip Mould, shows that although the glamour of the art world does exist, behind the museum walls there are restorers, scholars, and collectors who are truly passionate about art and dedicate themselves to seek out lost treasures. Part-history lesson, part-detective novel, the author traveled far and wide and found himself in a dil When I first received this book through the first-reads program, I had expected a collection of stories chronicling the rarified world of the museum setting. Instead Philip Mould, shows that although the glamour of the art world does exist, behind the museum walls there are restorers, scholars, and collectors who are truly passionate about art and dedicate themselves to seek out lost treasures. Part-history lesson, part-detective novel, the author traveled far and wide and found himself in a dilapitated church in Vermont to the English countryside to the archives in Jamaica and met colorful characters along the way. This book is no boring art history lesson. I really enjoyed this book and will recommend it to my fellow art-loving friends.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sunsettowers

    This is a fascinating book. The author worked on Antiques Roadshow, and also owns a gallery where he and his coworkers handle everything from restoration to purchases to authentication. This book follows some of what Mould considers his most interesting cases-I particularly found interesting the Norman Rockwell Hoax, which read like a mystery with all its twists and turns, and the Queen Elizabeth portrait, which contained a lot of fascinating royal history. While I did occasionally get bogged do This is a fascinating book. The author worked on Antiques Roadshow, and also owns a gallery where he and his coworkers handle everything from restoration to purchases to authentication. This book follows some of what Mould considers his most interesting cases-I particularly found interesting the Norman Rockwell Hoax, which read like a mystery with all its twists and turns, and the Queen Elizabeth portrait, which contained a lot of fascinating royal history. While I did occasionally get bogged down on some of the details (I love art, and history, but am in no way an expert on either), I loved this book nonetheless.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I think this book's title is somewhat misleading. I was expecting a book on international art scandals, and this isn't quite it. A better title would have been "Some Interesting Stories from My Life As An Art Dealer". That's what this book is, an art dealer who tells us about some of the interesting things that happened to him in his career. It's a perfectly fine book and I still enjoyed it, but the title over-hypes it as having a much broader spectrum than it actually has.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Chatty, intriguing reminiscences from an art dealer who specializes in British historical portraits. Includes descriptions of forgeries, lost masterpieces, thefts, eccentric collectors, and world travels. Someone with a background in art history would probably find this too basic, but I enjoyed it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis

    This book is the "thrill of the hunt" in print with the best possible results,...works of art with historical significance. As someone who enjoys perusing estate sales for the "big find" and art history, this little book was a quick, satisfying read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mia Emslie

    I had expected more ‘wonderful finds’ stories, & perhaps less life history of other art experts. It became a bit weighted down in places, but I did enjoy every story described ..and the ample descriptions, & dangers, of restoration of very old paintings. Interesting how often beautiful works of art were painted over .. thus the ‘art’ of finding them & bringing them back to original glory. I loved every instance of individual people & their stories of discovery & what happened to them & their pai I had expected more ‘wonderful finds’ stories, & perhaps less life history of other art experts. It became a bit weighted down in places, but I did enjoy every story described ..and the ample descriptions, & dangers, of restoration of very old paintings. Interesting how often beautiful works of art were painted over .. thus the ‘art’ of finding them & bringing them back to original glory. I loved every instance of individual people & their stories of discovery & what happened to them & their paintings. Fascinating story about Norman Rockwell.. glad his 2 sons kelp up the search! The book ended with a controversy of ownership of a Winslow Homer watercolor of 3 children in Arabian costume.. which was left up in the air as the book went to print. I googled to see what happened & apparently ownership is still undecided as of November 2019! Gosh. Maybe somebody should just decide for them! Or better yet... threaten to cut the painting in half... re: King Solomon and the 2 women both claiming the same baby! Then see what happens..

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carl

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Read this book based on the GR reviews. It did not disappoint. Mould takes the reader through a journey of amazing new finds of old art. Interestingly, the final story ultimately led to a TV show which has episodes still available via YouTube. The last story os the saddest of all. A fisherman found a Winslow Homer watercolor in a dump and it was only 3 or 4 lots from being sold at Sotheby's in NY for what some believed to be between $150-250,000 and was pulled from the auction. A long lost relat Read this book based on the GR reviews. It did not disappoint. Mould takes the reader through a journey of amazing new finds of old art. Interestingly, the final story ultimately led to a TV show which has episodes still available via YouTube. The last story os the saddest of all. A fisherman found a Winslow Homer watercolor in a dump and it was only 3 or 4 lots from being sold at Sotheby's in NY for what some believed to be between $150-250,000 and was pulled from the auction. A long lost relative of the painting's subject came forward to claim an ownership interest. It is a sad story that I am not sure has yet to resolve itself. A search of the interest cannot find a conclusion. Other than ending the book on such a downer, it is still very interesting and informative. A good read (pardon the pun) in these trying times. :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nana

    This is a great, succinct little read featuring a nice cache of fascinating art world stories as shared by Philip Mould, a long time British art dealer and truly, art investigator. Covered here are the miraculous discoveries of old master works hidden beneath musty overpaint spotted by Mould and his associates' quick eyes, a infamous case of Norman Rockwell forgery evidently committed by one of the artists'. close friends, the miraculous discovery of a Winslow Homer watercolor in a dump and iden This is a great, succinct little read featuring a nice cache of fascinating art world stories as shared by Philip Mould, a long time British art dealer and truly, art investigator. Covered here are the miraculous discoveries of old master works hidden beneath musty overpaint spotted by Mould and his associates' quick eyes, a infamous case of Norman Rockwell forgery evidently committed by one of the artists'. close friends, the miraculous discovery of a Winslow Homer watercolor in a dump and identified by Mould on Antiques Roadshow, and more. All are very interesting anecdotes that are written in a lively, engaging style and give one a sense of the power and importance of hard, old fashioned research and trail-following. I'm glad Mould wrote this to document these tales.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    This book makes art work very exciting. The author tells us how they research each painting to find the history, artist and the background. He tells of some exciting finds he has made of paintings that have be touched up, botched up or messed up by people who were supposed to restore them. He told the story of a painting that was a fake held by the Rockwell Museum. He talked to the son of the man who hid the original to keep it from his ex-wife. He talks of a Rembrandt that was proved to be a Re This book makes art work very exciting. The author tells us how they research each painting to find the history, artist and the background. He tells of some exciting finds he has made of paintings that have be touched up, botched up or messed up by people who were supposed to restore them. He told the story of a painting that was a fake held by the Rockwell Museum. He talked to the son of the man who hid the original to keep it from his ex-wife. He talks of a Rembrandt that was proved to be a Rembrandt by the experts, after it was restored. Mould leaves the book on a question on whether a person who found a painting has the right to sell it. Very good book. Proves that librarians, researcher and historians are important to determining the history and cost of a painting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Wow! This is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Several true accounts of finding so-called “lost“ works of art. The author and the narrator of the audiobook are clearly both passionate about art, about the business surrounding the art, about the people who buy the art, about the people who restore the art, and about the people who are depicted in the art. It was so thoroughly enjoy able to listen to someone who loves what he does for a living and every aspect of it. He explains the process Wow! This is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Several true accounts of finding so-called “lost“ works of art. The author and the narrator of the audiobook are clearly both passionate about art, about the business surrounding the art, about the people who buy the art, about the people who restore the art, and about the people who are depicted in the art. It was so thoroughly enjoy able to listen to someone who loves what he does for a living and every aspect of it. He explains the process of restoration, the process of the historical research, and the process of dealing with people in great detail and, I am glad to say, it never gets boring. I thoroughly enjoyed this book I cannot recommend it highly enough.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Philip Mould’s book reads like a detective novel, telling stories of found paintings that in some cases were painted over but in others were hidden—behind a fake wall. These discoveries are a gamble. First the piece is spotted, usually at auction, then researched, then examined on the computer and in person, if possible. Finally the purchase is made, the piece is cleaned which might take hours but often takes weeks. Then a buyer is found. There are cases where a potential piece is funded by a buy Philip Mould’s book reads like a detective novel, telling stories of found paintings that in some cases were painted over but in others were hidden—behind a fake wall. These discoveries are a gamble. First the piece is spotted, usually at auction, then researched, then examined on the computer and in person, if possible. Finally the purchase is made, the piece is cleaned which might take hours but often takes weeks. Then a buyer is found. There are cases where a potential piece is funded by a buyer in order to purchase the piece. This occurred with a full-length portrait of Elizabeth I, on a wood panel which had been painted over. Quite the story. A great book. If you love art you will enjoy this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jj Li

    I really like this book. As an art history buff, this was a fascinating human angle on a subject I'd studied a lot academically, as dates and movements and concepts. The thrill of the chase and the novelty of the finds was balanced out by the humanity of the collectors and actors involved. The painting wasn't just cleaned - Philip Mould cleaned it like a naughty child sneaking a cookie before dinner. There is a family who bore the burden of a fanatical collector's strange treasure trove. A highl I really like this book. As an art history buff, this was a fascinating human angle on a subject I'd studied a lot academically, as dates and movements and concepts. The thrill of the chase and the novelty of the finds was balanced out by the humanity of the collectors and actors involved. The painting wasn't just cleaned - Philip Mould cleaned it like a naughty child sneaking a cookie before dinner. There is a family who bore the burden of a fanatical collector's strange treasure trove. A highly recommended read for anyone who likes art, treasure hunting, or dry British humour

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Interesting stories about the discovery artworks and forgeries. Wonders will never cease at the authentication of the Norman Rockwell forgery. When a witness to the creation of an artwork tells you something was done to it and you cannot find any evidence of it, how do you continue to authenticate it? As an archivist, I found that completely frustrating. Good, even paced narration in the audio version.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    This book is the bomb if you are interested in Art History, esp. painting. The author goes through various stories about his experiences in tracking down/purchasing/selling different works of art. He is obviously an expert, and I could see how someone who is not interested in the topic wouldn't enjoy this book. The narrator is great. I am going to look at the book version if only to see the paintings the author talks about.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christina Dudley

    Ooh, if you enjoy the TV show Fake or Fortune (which I do), you'll also love this book, written by art dealer Philip Mould from the show. Bendor Grosvenor and Fiona Bruce also put in appearances, as does art by Rembrandt, Homer, Gainsborough, and others. My only, only disappointment was the total lack of illustrations. Yes, I could and did Google things, but I would have appreciated even a couple B&W shots. Ooh, if you enjoy the TV show Fake or Fortune (which I do), you'll also love this book, written by art dealer Philip Mould from the show. Bendor Grosvenor and Fiona Bruce also put in appearances, as does art by Rembrandt, Homer, Gainsborough, and others. My only, only disappointment was the total lack of illustrations. Yes, I could and did Google things, but I would have appreciated even a couple B&W shots.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Karen Stonestreet

    Great read This wonderful book is the antithesis of dry, dull, lifeless art history. Philip Mould brings these pictures into vibrant, sharp focus as he leads us through his adventures unraveling the mystery behind each one. Highly recommend this fascinating book - as wonderful as any English tea-cozy mystery, without the murders.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    I've always been a little obsessed with art and literature academia sorts of mysteries, and this book presents many that the art dealer/author has encountered in his personal life. Fun and fascinating.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amaryca

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The author is a bit self aggrandizing, but over all a great book detailing a very interesting career in the art world. I only wish there was a second edition or post-script that told us how the final story in the book ended in the legal battle.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Exciting, interesting, amusing, and entertaining. Mould makes art history come to life and brings a humanity to his various investigations. Highly recommend. Also, this would make such a good movie. I would watch the Netflix series. I have never seen Antique Roadshow, sorry.

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