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Fakes and Forgeries

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252585.  Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:17 pm Reply with quote

Something else fake... or possibly fake... is the Voynich Manuscript, an undeciphered text with several scientific sections including astronomy, biology, and botany (with pictures of plants that don't exist, mashed up from leaves of one flower and petals from another!). It has an unknown origin and it includes Latin but the rest of the 'words' and 'letters' are a complete mystery. It's orderly but crazy so some people think the whole thing is a hoax.

If I was any good at cyphers, this would be the jackpot, but maybe one of you geniuses can, now that it has been brought to your attention.

252670.  Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:09 am Reply with quote

Another famous fraud: The Ossianic poems of James McPherson. A collector of folk literature, he claimed to have discovered an entire, previously unknown cycle of epic poems in Scots Gaelic. These poems of Ossian where immensely popular in his day, even Napoleon and Goethe were fans, but it's now believed that while he might have been inspired by the real oral literature and reshaped some traditional material, he basically made the whole thing up.

Over 50 journals, purportedly handwritten by Hitler, revealed a kinder, gentler dictator whose "final solution" to the "Jewish problem" was not genocide but merely the deportation of Jews.
Is that for certain? I've heard many things about the Hitler Diaries, but never that they were a whitewash.

252854.  Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:10 pm Reply with quote

The Chinese town of Dafen exports fake paintings.,1518,433134,00.html

"An estimated 60 percent of the world's cheap oil paintings are produced within Dafen's four square kilometers (1.5 square miles)."

"Ruiqiu wants to "get into the business of oil paintings the way McDonalds got into the business of fast food."

"Some five million oil paintings are produced in Dafen every year. Between 8,000 and 10,000 painters toil in the workshops."

"Wu can churn out between 20 and 30 copies in a day. When a large order arrives, he may have to paint the same motif 1,000 times."

266323.  Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:40 pm Reply with quote

I was just doing some reading on the American Civil War and specifically about currency. Due to a lack of engravers and printing equipment, the Confederacy issued a host of different designs of notes (more than 70), and because of the variety both in materials and designs they came up with a novel way of protecting them from forgery. They hand signed them all. Or more precisely, they employed around 200 women to sign them "for the Treasurer".

Dingbat, the Furry King
272246.  Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:53 pm Reply with quote

On the topic of fakes, there's a question that I've been dying to ask for ages.

A few years ago my wife's grandparents passed away and when their possessions were being divided up I was asked if there was anything that I particularly fancied. I said that I'd always had my eye on a lovely framed sketch that hung above the bed in the room that I used to stay in when I first came to visit them. It shows a smiling man in a tricorn hat sitting down and staring off into the distance. It's signed "George Morland 1791". Not being interested in much art that's less than 1,000 years old, I didn't recognise the name :(. If you don't either, or just want to refresh your memory, try here: However, my mother-in-law said that she's always believed it to be a 19th fake and that at that particular time it was pretty common for art students to copy paintings and sketches and include the original signature too. I've not been able to track down any reference to this practice (not that I've looked too hard) and have always been of the opinion that an artist's signature was of prime importance - the one thing that separated a copy from a forgery.

Does anyone know anything about this? ... my interest is purely academic as I don't care who drew it or when, I simply enjoy a beautiful drawing that I feel blessed to have on my wall.

Thanks in advance. Dingbat.

[Edit: Just gone upstairs, taken it off the wall and noticed that the subject isn't wearing a hat, but there's a round-brimmed hat upside down on the ground beside him - amazing how the mind plays tricks. Also started to browse and have noticed that the signature is near identical to the first one shown on the list ... the only difference is that the 'Pinx' (?) after 'Morland' is omitted ... still in the dark!]

284144.  Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:24 am Reply with quote

a story about fakes that turned out to be fake in itself!

the "japanese buying sheep thinking they were poodles" story was bandied around many media outlets, and i'm sure much mirth ensued, but the story ultimately turned out to be fake. japanese police stated they'd never heard of such a scam, and the person considered the "source" had appeared on a talk show simply repeating a funny tale she'd heard at a nail salon. she didn't even own a poodle..... oh dear.

considering the media flocked to the story like lambs to the slaughter and really ram-med it home, i wonder if the author of the original article in "the sun" is feeling sheepish.... did ewe believe it?

*gets sheepskin coat*

Dingbat, the Furry King
327511.  Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:07 pm Reply with quote

A resolution to my previous post!

A couple of weeks ago the Antiques Roadshow came to Belfast, so I packed up my possible Moreland in the hope they could shed some light on the subject. Turns out I've got a hand-coloured lithograph and not an original. Even though Moreland regularly coloured in his own lithographs to get drinking money, I'm told it's barely worth the bus fare it took to get me there! Still, I love the print! ... on the down side ... the WWI shell, the 19th C stoneware jug and the 26th Dynasty Egyptian jewelery I brought in are all pretty much worthless too ... :(


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