Britain’s Famous Critic Brian Sewell Confesses Tricking Tate Into Buying Fake Hogarth

Brian Sewell in Christie’s warehouse, circa 1962. Courtesy Christie's London.

Brian Sewell has always delighted in controversy. Now, he’s set to ruffle a few more feathers. According to the BBC, the outspoken Evening Standard art critic told The Lady he convinced Tate to buy a painting mistakenly attributed to Hogarth, when he was working at Christie’s. He even admitted adding extra brushstrokes to render the piece more credible.

“For a few years, it was the earliest Hogarth in the Tate,” he said, “until some Hogarth scholars came along and it was demoted. I haven’t seen it for years, but I was jolly chuffed when they bought it.”

Entitled The Doctor’s Visit and dated from c.1725, the painting was in fact the work of a much lesser-known painter, Egbert Van Heemskerk. It is now listed as such on the Tate collection records.

—arnet News



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