FAKE OR FORTUNE s05e02 PAUL DELAROCHE
The Fake or Fortune team have been called in to investigate a mysterious painting in Castle of Park, a grand house in Aberdeenshire now run as a bed and breakfast by Becky Wilson.
The painting once belonged to Becky’s late husband Neil, an art dealer, and although it was unsigned he always believed it was something special – a lost masterpiece by celebrated 19th-century French artist Paul Delaroche, whose work graces some of Britain’s finest collections.
A bargain at just £500, Neil had tried to convince experts that the exquisitely detailed painting of a royal lady and her attendants was an important missing work and was about to conduct further research when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. He passed away in 2014.
Becky contacted the Fake or Fortune team to say she and her children would love to know if Neil was right about the painting he passionately believed was genuine. If it is by Delaroche, then it is worth an estimated £50,000.
The team set out to finish the work Neil started. The stakes are raised when evidence in the British Museum suggests Neil’s painting might be a lost royal treasure which was once owned by the last King and Queen of the French, Louis Philippe and Marie Amelie.
The search for clues leads Fiona to the glorious Chateau d’Eu in Normandy on the trail of a stained-glass window created in the image of Delaroche’s lost painting for the queen’s private chapel.
Yet the deeper the team dig, the more they discover about a growing number of copies of the same image. Concerns about the condition of Becky’s painting prompt Philip to carry out detailed scientific research into the pigments the artist used, while Fiona tries to find out if the painting could have made its way to England with Queen Marie Amelie when she fled France during the 1848 revolution.
Have the team been dealing with a clever copy, or was Neil Wilson’s hunch correct, and a long-lost masterpiece has finally been rediscovered?