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Fake or Fortune?

  • Season 7
  • 5 episodes
  • Arts
  • Education

Summary

Fiona Bruce teams up with art expert Philip Mould to investigate mysteries behind paintings.

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Episode 4: A Double Whodunnit

Summary

Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould investigate the origins of two paintings by unknown artists dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, which unusually for the period, depict black subjects. One is a portrait of Dido Belle, a famous former slave adopted into an aristocratic English family in the 1760s, while the other depicts two children against a tropical landscape, and is believed to have been painted as a protest against the slave trade.

Review

There’s a double whodunnit for Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould to solve as they investigate the provenance of two portraits featuring black sitters. The familiar painting of Lady Elizabeth Finch-Hatton with her cousin Dido Belle, a former slave, was remarkable in the 18th century for depicting women as equals. But now that the art world has dismissed the notion that it was painted by German artist Johann Zoffany, who did create this charming and important image?

The other mystery concerns a privately owned 19th-century painting of two unknown young black girls. Depicting them nicely dressed and holding a Bible, it reveals much about this period in history and there are suggestions it could be connected to the campaign to abolish slavery in Britain’s colonies. But the artist’s signature is illegible, so who painted it?

How to watch

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Details

Formats
Colour

Credits

Cast

rolename
PresenterFiona Bruce
PresenterPhilip Mould

Crew

rolename
Executive producerJudith Winnan
ProducerFrancis Welch
Series producerLucy Swingler

All episodes

  • Episode 4

    A Double Whodunnit

    Summary

    Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould investigate the origins of two paintings by unknown artists dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, which unusually for the period, depict black subjects. One is a portrait of Dido Belle, a famous former slave adopted into an aristocratic English family in the 1760s, while the other depicts two children against a tropical landscape, and is believed to have been painted as a protest against the slave trade.

    Review

    There’s a double whodunnit for Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould to solve as they investigate the provenance of two portraits featuring black sitters. The familiar painting of Lady Elizabeth Finch-Hatton with her cousin Dido Belle, a former slave, was remarkable in the 18th century for depicting women as equals. But now that the art world has dismissed the notion that it was painted by German artist Johann Zoffany, who did create this charming and important image?

    The other mystery concerns a privately owned 19th-century painting of two unknown young black girls. Depicting them nicely dressed and holding a Bible, it reveals much about this period in history and there are suggestions it could be connected to the campaign to abolish slavery in Britain’s colonies. But the artist’s signature is illegible, so who painted it?

    How to watch

    Loading

    Details

    Formats
    Colour

    Credits

    Cast

    rolename
    PresenterFiona Bruce
    PresenterPhilip Mould

    Crew

    rolename
    Executive producerJudith Winnan
    ProducerFrancis Welch
    Series producerLucy Swingler

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