Identify Forged Masterpieces at the V&A Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum, Metropolitan Police Service's Investigation of Fakes and Forgeries
In 2003, Britain's Bolton Museum bought the Amarna Princess sculpture; it turned out to be a fake created by forger Shaun Grennhalgh and was seized by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Art & Antiques Unit in 2006. The sculpture is part of the new V&A exhibit. [Credit: V&A Museum]
LONDON — If it were genuine, the collection of masterpieces on view at the Victoria and Albert Museum would be worth $6.45 million. You expect to see authentic artwork when you visit a world-famous museum, but the unusual show at the V&A is celebrating the fine art of forgery. More than 100 fake works, including paintings once attributed to graffiti artist Banksy and sculptures not really by Barbara Hepworth, are part of the London museum's new exhibit  - The Metropolitan Police Service's Investigation of Fakes and Forgeries.

"This display will demonstrate that art crime is not just a topic for historic consideration. It reveals a situation very much alive and at the forefront of the art and antiques unit's priorities today," said Detective sergeant Vernon Rapley, head of the Metropolitan Police's art and antiques unit. "We hope that by highlighting some of the new techniques criminals use, we can educate people in what to look out for and encourage greater reporting of these crimes," Rapley told Sky News.

The fakes seized by the Metropolitan Police went on display for the first time on Saturday, and can be seen at the V&A through February 7.

Many of the works were created by one of most notorious forgers in British art history, Shaun Greenhalgh, while others were done by John Myatt and Robert Thwaites. Items like vintage typewriters and false stamps were used by the forgers to create letters, invoices and other fake documents of authenticity - all of which are also included in the exhibit.

[Click the video player for an exhibit preview]


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