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Fake or Fortune? Returns

Tue Jul 23, 2019

Britain’s favourite arts programme Fake or Fortune? is back for its eighth series next Thursday 25th, 9pm on BBC One. Join Philip and Fiona, alongside leading specialists, academics and conservators as they unite their expertise to establish the authenticity of some truly astonishing works of art. At the other end of the spectrum, the team finds themselves in an unnerving position as they uncover the sinister truth lurking behind expertly crafted deceptions. This season will tackle titans of art history including works attributed to, or once thought to be by, Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88), Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Michele Giovanni Marieschi (1710-44) and Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978).

With audiences in the United Kingdom of over 5 million and further millions tuning in internationally, the show (which first aired in June 2011), has captured the public voracity for an inside perspective into the commercial art market; the focus of attention being on the often-precarious nature of attribution and authentication and the direct correlation these decisions have on an artwork’s art historical perception therefore value. In a market dictated by changing tastes and directed by expert opinion, a wrong call can sometimes mean the difference between pounds and hundreds of thousands of pounds, as well as art historical prominence or obscurity.


In the first episode of the season, Philip and Fiona investigate a brooding pastoral scene once thought to be by the master of British landscape and high society portraiture, Thomas Gainsborough. The work, which was purchased under the belief that it was by the artist himself, was since downgraded as being by the, somewhat infamous, mimic of Gainsborough, Thomas Barker of Bath (known more commonly as Barker of Bath) (1769-1847) and further reduced to a Follower of Barker of Bath. Can this beguiling Arcadian scene have a chance at re-attribution and if so under what circumstances did it lose its status on its journey? To find out, the team must uncover the work’s true provenance and consult with leading authorities on the artist as well as expert paintings conservators. The verdict could be life-changing. Fake or Fortune? Series 8 commences Thursday 25th July, 9pm on BBC One and is aired at the same time each week thereafter. For all enquiries please contact: