The fake toff - ‘Lord’ Maurice Taylor, 61 (no less), had succeeded in convincing one of Britain’s top auction houses – Bonhams of Bond Street - that his Lowry Mill Street masterpiece was the real deal, who obliged him with an insurance valuation of £400,000 ($600,000US). He was obviously working very hard at his role - Con-man Taylor had even bought his title, the grandiose sounding Lord Taylor Windsor, over the internet for £1,000.
“I’m just delighted to have this picture even though it is not a genuine Lowry” Fake L S Lowry Painting Sold to the Same Buyer Twice in UKPublished by Barry November 8th, 2010 in Artists and Art News.
“I’m just delighted to have this picture even though it is not a genuine Lowry”
- Duped buyer David Smith bought back a copy of LS Lowry’s 1964 “Mill Street Scene” for £13,500 from a proceeds of crime auction this month. He had previously bought it believing it to be an “original” for £330,000.
UK businessman and Art Dealer, David Smith, agreed to buy an “LS Lowry” painting for £330,000 at a meeting in London’s uber swanky Ritz Hotel on Picadilly, paying out £230,000 (approx $310,000 US) to “an English aristocrat” - only to discover that the painting, as well as the “aristocrat”, were both fakes.
^ Fake toff - Lord Taylor - thanks to “Thisis”
“Lord” Taylor had bought the reproduction 1964 Lowry picture “Mill Street Scene” in 2004 for £7,500 – fully aware that the painting was “after Lowry” and not the genuine article. It was in fact painted by another artist, Arthur Delaney, who had painted the scene in homage to the great artist, renowned for his North of England industrial scenes.
The bogus /reproduction Lowry painting was seized by UK police and auctioned under the “Proceeds of Crime Act”, a law that uses proceeds from seized assets to compensate victims of crime. The painting realised £13,500 at auction – around one tenth of the value of a genuine painting by LS Lowry yet comfortably in excess of its £10,000 estimate.All in all, a remarkable sum for a fake. In a further twist the buyer turns out to be the victim himself, David Smith.
Smith, MD of Neptune Fine Arts in Belper, Derbyshire - bought the fake painting back at the subsequent auction in Macclesfield, Cheshire. All kudos to Smith - he lost his original £230,000 paid to the fraudster, but remained decidedly upbeat telling the UK newspaper, the Daily Mail:
“I’m just delighted to have this picture even though it is not a genuine Lowry.”………. “We would have paid whatever it took and now we’ve got it I have no intention whatsoever of selling it on. It will serve as a memory to what happened……”. He continued, “We have a couple of places where we intend to hang it up but wherever it will be, we’ll be able to see it every day and have something of a good laugh about what it means to me.”
Mr. (not Lord) Taylor, of Kermincham in Cheshire, England received a three year jail sentence for fraud and was ordered by the court hand over £1.1million under a separate proceeds of crime hearing.
What surprises me is that a fake can sell for as much as $20,000US, when museum quality reproductions of LS Lowry paintings are available for less than $400US.
I guess there are two conclusions to can draw from the tale: Number one - buyer beware! Even the experts can’t tell the difference between a “real” painting and a reproduction. Secondly, to accept a loss as graciously as Mr. Smith of Derbyshire, England marks him out as a true British gentleman.