Fake or Fortune?
New series. Journalist Fiona Bruce teams up with art expert Philip Mould to investigate mysteries behind paintings.
Part 1: Lowry
Fiona Bruce and art experts Philip Mould and Bendor Grosvenor come to the aid of a man who has inherited three paintings that he believes were painted by LS Lowry. However, he cannot prove whether they are the genuine article, and since Lowry is the British artist whose work is most frequently forged, it will take a great deal of evidence to convince the art establishment of their value. The search for the truth leads to a discovery that challenges established beliefs about the artist’s life.
Part 2: Renoir
Nicky Philipps, an artist who has previously painted portraits of the royal family, seeks help in determining whether a mysterious painting housed at Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire is a genuine work by celebrated French Impressionist Pierre Auguste Renoir. Picton Castle is the ancestral home of Nicky’s family, and her aunt used to tell an intriguing tale that the picture in question came from Claude Monet’s house in Giverny, and was originally a gift given to the artist by Renoir himself. Fiona Bruce heads to Monet’s home to determine whether this rumour is true, and investigates contrasting academic opinions on whether the painting is genuine. Meanwhile, Philip Mould travels to the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil and to Berlin to make use of cutting-edge technology to determine whether the pigments in Nicky’s picture match up with those listed as being used by Renoir.
Part 3: A Mystery Old Master
Fiona Bruce and art expert Philip Mould visit a church in Lancashire, once patronised by Yorkshire’s famous Bronte sisters, that is the home of a painting thought to have been produced by an Italian old master. The picture itself is a pieta, an image of the aftermath of Christ’s crucifixion, and Philip has a hunch it may be from the Italian Renaissance, possibly making this one of the oldest pieces featured in the series so far. On behalf of the church’s congregation, Fiona and Philip travel to Italy to compare the Lancastrian pieta with works by old masters Titian and Tintortetto, while back in the UK, Bendor Grosvenor investigates the history of a local aristocrat who is believed to have donated the painting to the church more than 200 years ago.
Part 4: Munnings and Churchill
Fiona Bruce and art expert Philip Mould return for one final commission, helping Under-Sheriff and Secondary of London Charles Henty investigate whether two paintings in his possession are as valuable as he thinks. The first is a landscape picture of Dedham in Essex, thought to have been painted by pre-eminent British artist Alfred Munnings, and the second painting is of a medieval French village, and was rumoured to have been produced by part-time painter, full-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Charles hopes the sale of these two potentially pricey heirlooms will help protect jobs at a working French farm he inherited from his late uncle, but first he must learn whether the pictures are truly genuine.