British Art Collector Allegedly Forged Prints to Fund Lover’s Visa
The judge let him off easy after he confessed.
Artist and art collector Sheridan Tandy may have attempted to sell forged prints at Sotheby’s and Bonhams in London, but he won’t be going to jail over the offense, according to the Telegraph. He reportedly committed the crime to get himself out of debts incurred trying to secure a British visa for his Brazilian lover.
On December 7, Judge John Price at London’s Southwark Crown Court gave Tandy, who had admitted to his crime, a six-month sentence, to be suspended for 18 months.
“I produced the items using simple tools because I was short of money,” the 68-year-old dealer reportedly told the police upon arrest.
Though he felt the crime was worthy of a jail sentence, the judge appreciated that Tandy had immediately confessed to the forgeries. “Considering your age, character and plea I am going to suspend that,” said the judge.
The fraud began in the fall of 2014, when Tandy successfully passed off four fakes as genuine Grosvenor School prints to his local auction house, Lawrence Fine Art of Crewkerne in Somerset. He aped the work of English artists such as Leonard Beaumont and Cyril Power.
In March, Tandy consigned additional prints at Bonhams and Sotheby’s, but an expert at the former house was suspicious. The works reportedly still smelled like turpentine, suggesting they had been made recently, and there were questions over the provenance.
Bonhams contacted the art and antiques unit of London’s Metropolitan Police Service, and Tandy was arrested the following month.
While Tandy’s scheme was unveiled before the two major auction houses found buyers for any of the forgeries, Laurences lost £7,596 (about $11,400). As part of his sentence, Tandy will pay them £4,500 (about $6,700).
“Tandy is a retired academic and art lecturer who used a lifetime of knowledge and expertise within the art market to produce forged linocut prints, some of which he managed to sell,” said detective constable Ray Swan, of the art and antiques unit, in a statement.
“What prompted me to act so out of character,” Tandy explained in court while representing himself, “was that we lost the case in an immigration tribunal and I had considerable expenses as a result of that. The loss of the case was completely unexpected, I declared to the judge that he was my lover and my partner and the judge didn’t accept that and ruled that we were just good friends.”
Follow artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.