Fakes, Frauds and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures
I could not have enjoyed reading this book more. It is fresh, fast, and furiously entertaining. If you need a summer read with some substance, look no further. Part Indiana Jones, part London academia, Mould shares tales of his years in portrait dealing with elegant charm.
|The Hampden Portrait of Elizabeth I, one of Mould’s finds.|
He leads off with a tale of a packrat who had amassed as many pieces of junk as he had treasures. There is an aching sadness as both the narrator and reader realize how the collector’s life was consumed. Thankfully, the extensive collection was salvaged and donated to SCAD in Savannah.
He also delves into the nail-biting world of research (yes, it is exciting), discovery and finally winning at auction. Many hours are spent in dusty corners of libraries, scouring tidbits of information on the internet, and interogating other experts in the field — all to determine who put brush to canvas, who made that little smear of paint. The answer can cost a collector millions of dollars, in either direction. (It reminds an old soul like myself of the wonderful episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show when they go to auction to get ideas for an episode of the Alan Brady Show.)
|Dick Van Dyke & Mary Tyler Moore|
This book is great fun, and educational but refreshingly not didactic. And Mould is quick to give credit to others in his gallery and in the field who are constant sources of assistance and perspective. It’s rather like watching Antiques Roadshow UK (of which he is a appraisal member) — it’s more about the stories behind the art, and the people who love art, than the price tag associated with it.
Thanks to Meghan at Viking/Penguin for the review copy!