Lot 18
  • 18

The Spanish Forger, Court scene with figure reading to noblemen and women, oil on panel

2,000 - 3,000 GBP
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decorated panel, 229mm. by 185mm., with a elaborate court scene, oil on panel, noble couple seated before reading figure on grassy surround, he with sceptre, she with coronet and ermine bodice, surrounded by twelve members of their court, in the foreground a man holding a scroll, a woman playing a harp and a small white dog, all listening to a figure reading from a scroll, large fortified building and walled town in foothills of mountains in background with couples riding a white horse and walking in woods together, much crackled, else no damage,"1420" in modern pen on verso, in gold edged modern frame with red velvet interlay

Catalogue Note

The so-called 'Spanish Forger' was probably active in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in France or Belgium, prolifically producing sophisticated fakes in his own distinctive style for the booming trade in panels and single leaves. His figures all have high cheek bones, small pursed lips and disinterested expressions, commonly incline their heads at approximately 30°, and are set in stock chivalric or court-life scenes. The present panel is an excellent example of these, but unlike the majority of the pieces which have come to light it presents a scene containing numerous figures and a wealth of small detail, and manages to encompass a number of pseudo-medieval nostalgic themes of courtly life, music and performance, and romantic love. These were avidly collected by institutions and private collectors alike, and were exposed as forgeries in the mid-twentieth century (see J. Backhouse "The Spanish Forger", British Museum Quarterly 33, 1968, pp.65-71, and W. Voelkle’s comprehensive catalogue The Spanish Forger, 1978).