Thursday 22 February 2018

Masterpieces worth millions replaced by forgeries at galleries for new TV series

Presenter Giles Coren launches the nationwide treasure hunt at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London
Presenter Giles Coren launches the nationwide treasure hunt at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London

Millions of pounds worth of masterpieces have been removed from art galleries and replaced with forgeries for the sake of a new TV series.

Seven paintings by British artists have been removed from museums around the UK in a bid to see if the visiting public can spot the imposters among the collections.

At the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, a fake will be hidden in The Art of The Stuart Courts collection, while an imposter will be hidden among the Golden Age English Portraiture section of the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, Wirral.

At the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, a copy will be hidden among paintings of Animal and Sporting Art from the 18th and 19th centuries and at the National Museum Cardiff, a copy has been made of one of the paintings from the British Landscape collection, that includes works by J.M.W. Turner and Richard Wilson

An imposter will also be smuggled in among the Victorian Narrative Painting section of the Guildhall Art Gallery in London and the Manchester Art Gallery's display of Pre-Raphaelite paintings will also house a fake.

The same gallery will create a special display of paintings of the city by LS Lowry and Adolphe Valette; one of which will be a copy.

The public will have the month of July to see if they can spot the imposters by visiting the galleries or viewing the collections online at for Sky Arts' new series Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge.

Only the museum curators, the show's production team, and presenters Giles Coren and art historian Rose Balston will know which pictures are real and which have been replaced.

Those who manage to correctly identify the fakes will be in the running to take part in the series finale at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford , when they will compete to win a specially commissioned copy of their very own.

Each episode of the show will examine a different period of British art and feature interviews with curators from each gallery and the artists who have been commissioned to recreate the masterpieces.

Phil Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts, said: "You don't have to be an art historian to have a go at this.

"All you need is a sense of curiosity and an eye for detail.

"We wanted to tell the story of British art with a sense of fun, and in a way that would encourage us all to take a closer and more critical look at the works of great British artists."

Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge will be recorded throughout July and August and will air on Sky Arts in 2017.

Press Association

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