Monday, 5 January 2009

Antiques Rogue Show: Reaction

The drama "Antiques Rogue Show" shown on the BBC yesterday explored the issue of the Amarna Princess sold to the Bolton Museum. One was left with the feeling that Shaun Greenhalgh, the forger, was (in the words of the reporter in the drama) "a gifted, bright kid" - but he came from the wrong place. Was Shaun a talented artist? And we hear the verdicts of the museum curator and the police officer.

The programme was introduced with a shot to the textual definition of "provenance". Central to the story was the acquisition of the catalogue of the sale of the Silver Park Collection ("Silverton Park: costly, rare and valuable antique furniture", Thompson, Rippon & Son, 1892). This appears to be a rare catalogue: only one copy is listed on WorldCat (in the Getty Research Library). The lot items were "all so vague" (to quote the actor playing Greenhalgh). And at the (fictional) police interview with Shaun the lead police officer suggests that the catalogue allowed the Greenhalghs "to make up a provenance".

Some questions remained unanswered. But the one that lingers was placed on the lips of a woman police officer briefing a reporter over a drink in a pub: how many Greenhalgh fakes are still out there unrecognised?


Group 8 said...

I enjoyed Norman Hull's programme; it was a good drama. THe father may have been a bit knowing in the presence of the experts etc. but ti was well acted in general.
I'd seen a docu about the case before and wrote a short story about it. I called mine 'An Armana Princess Up North'. There seems to be 2 spellings: Amarna and Armana. Can anyone clarify why that is?

David Gill said...

See the Cambridge Amarna project for the spelling.

Have you published the short story?

Group 8 said...

Hi David, thanks for that. I had better change it in my story for accuracy, as it's a placename.

The story will be in my new short fiction collection 'Nude' (Salt, Sep 2009) but I'm going to try to get it into a magazine before that too. I just haven't chosen one to try yet.

Group 8 said...

David, If you'd like to read it, I can mail it to you? Nuala

Anonymous said...

nice article upon antiques.

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