Art market

Warning about fairy paintings as fakes appear on the market

Forgeries inspired by the burgeoning popularity of the genre are becoming increasingly problematic


Fairy paintings have seen enormous increases in value since the Royal Academy held its exhibition in 1997, which featured among other works John Anster Fitzgerald’s “Ariel”, dating from about 1858, from the collection of the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool (above). The interest has not been lost on forgers, and last month the Art and Antiques Unit of Scotland Yard put out a warning that forgeries of such paintings are in circulation in Britain and the US. It identified a work entitled “Poppies with fairies and foliage”, purportedly by Fitzgerald, as a fake, and dealers say they have been offered many more bogus works. The warning followed the arrest in March of three people suspected of forgery: they have all been bailed until June. The fakes have also turned up at auction in the North of England, New York and in Devon.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Warning about fairy paintings'