Fake or Fortune?

In addition to a bit of sport, I like art. 

A new-found lover of galleries, I’m actually privileged to own a few wall decorations of my own. From a Venetian scene by Bob Dylan, to a Cuban oil painting bought from a living room in Havana, I like my art for its aesthetics, not for its value. I’m happy then, that I don’t own any art of particular worth (my Dylan is a print), but what I’m distinctly fascinated by is how something so inexpensive in material value, can prize millions of pounds from our pockets. If you’ve got big pockets that is… 

One Sunday evening of late, I chanced upon a BBC series called Fake or Fortune. Each week Fiona Bruce and a gang of art experts set about to prove the identity of a painting to the Wildenstein Institute in Paris. With the institute’s acceptance, the painting would be officially credited to the artist in question, giving it substantially higher status and value.

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The first episode in this series featured scriptwriter Keith Tutt, who owned a painting by French post-impressionist, Edouard Vuillard. The plucky guy had gambled his life savings on this work, despite the lack of an official stamp, so was determined to prove that his instinct was right and that the painting was in fact ‘real’.

Interestingly, the previous owners of the Vuillard, both antiques hunters, had lobbied tirelessly for 4 years to get the painting instated onto official records. They had eventually become so exasperated by the process that they ended their anguish via Ebay. Losing all hope they had jumped ship, leaving optimistic new owner Keith at the helm.

After an intense investigation aided by the programme, Keith’s beloved painting was proven to be a true Vuillard! A £10,000 painting gained a few noughts in a matter of seconds as Fiona Bruce read out the verdict.

It made me wonder, what if we were to be sitting on treasure that is yet to be proven valuable? What if there is a hidden chest of precious jewels right in front of our noses just awaiting discovery? 

Over 3 and a half years ago, I discovered I had the keys to a fortune and became richer than my wildest dreams. My life as I knew it completely changed in a moment, somewhat like that of Keith Tutt. I left the life I was living, took my wealth and moved to London. I started a new life and set on a journey of excitement and wonder. There was nothing that could hold me back, I was rich! Unlike Keith though, my wealth wasn’t borne from a painting, not even an inanimate object with potential. No, my wealth was found in heaven, in Jesus, in God.

Now where’s the proof I hear you cry! Well, there’s plenty. Imagine you are the Wildenstein institute and I’m Fiona Bruce (if you will), and I presented you with compelling evidence detailing the history of Jesus, the proof of his existence and what he did. Would you give him your seal of approval or cast him off as a fake? Would you even look at the evidence? 

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A lady on the next episode of Fake or Fortune had kept a painting by Constable under her bed for almost 40 years not realising its worth. When asked why she had only recently hung it on her wall she replied “One never really thought very much about it, one never really imagined that it was a Constable.” 

Have you thought about it?

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