September 13 2012
Picture: Daily Mail
It could be a £20m Turner! Or a £500 copy. You decide. Either way, it seems that the easiest way to get free publicity these days is to claim that you might have found a masterpiece. It doesn't matter if it's a worthless copy - few journalists can begin to tell the difference, and fewer still can be bothered to ask someone who can. We saw a similar story last month with yet another 'Leonardo' discovery. (Is it a coincidence that both stories were featured in the Daily Mail?) Soon, we will be able to bastardise Andy Warhol's famous line, and say 'In the future, every painting will be world-famous for 15 minutes.'
BBC SouthEast (the 'Turner' belongs to a Kent antiques dealer) asks me if I can go on telly and talk about the discovery. Should I be kind and optimistic, or should I give the picture, and the world's press, both barrels of brutal, AHN honesty?