Monday, 30 September 2013

David's Napoleon Real

Here's a story worthy of BBC's Fake or Fortune? This painting of Napoleon Bonaparte (1813) in French National Guard uniform was first recorded in the collection of the Borthwick-Norton family at Borthwick Castle in Scotland. How did it get there? Nobody knows. It passed by descent to Eva Sardinia Borthwick-Norton, who gave it to the Royal Scottish Academy. By this time the painting was dirty, unloved and thought be a copy. So the Academy put it up for auction in 2005 with an estimated value of £15,000. It was bought by a collector in New York, USA. He had it cleaned, revealing the signature of the famous French artist Jacques-Louis David. He then sought authentication from French art expert Dr Simon Lee of the University of Reading. Beneath David's signature was another signature, that of Rouget, with the date 1813. Dr Lee knew that Georges Rouget was David's studio assistant who would do the preparatory work for a new painting. David would then complete the work. So, the painting is the real deal, worth about £2m (CLICK). Red faces at the Royal Scottish Academy.


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