Synopses & Reviews
What is a fake and why are fakes made? Did the forgers of the Turin Shroud and Piltdown Man have the same motives? Does a famous Vermeer cease to be beautiful when it turns out to be a Van Meegeren? Is the Piranesi Vase an eighteenth-century masterpiece or a faked-up antique? Fakes, argue the contributors to this volume, have always been unjustly neglected, especially given the unparalleled evidence they provide of the values and perceptions of both those who make them and those who commission them.
Included in this major survey of fakes and forgeries from ancient Babylonia to the present day are more than 600 objects from the British Museum and other outstanding collections. There are spectacular fakes once hailed as masterpieces of ancient and modern art. There are musical instruments and manuscripts, Chinese bronzes and Chelsea porcelain. There are literary and documentary frauds and political forgeries that have changed the course of history.
Both the methods of making fakes and the recent scientific advances in their detection are described, but many puzzles remain. The book concludes with a discussion of intriguing cases like the Vinland Map, the "Aztec" rock-crystal skull, and the mysterious discoveries at Glozel, which continue to perplex curator, historian, and scientist alike.
About the Author
Mark Jones is Assistant Keeper, Department of Coins and Medals, British Museum. He is the author of The Art of the Medal, Medals of the Sun King, The Dance of Death, and Contemporary British Medals, and editor of The Medal and Médailles.