The Wilson - Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

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The Wilson - Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum
Clarence Street
GL50 3JT

Tel: 01242 237431

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‘Fakes’ from Sky Arts series to feature in new exhibition exploring forgery in the art market


See our review of the opening evening here.

Exhibition: 17 June – 15 October

fake sky arts wilson art gallery cheltenham 2017

Fake: The Great Reveal is a unique exhibition inspired by the Sky Arts TV programme, Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge presented by Giles Coren and art historian Rose Balston, opening this summer at The Wilson. This exhibition will change the way that you look at art. What is a fake and how does the art world go about spotting them? How do authorities attempt to police a global art market worth over £56 billion a year?

In summer 2016, Sky Arts switched priceless masterpieces for specially made copies at art galleries and museums around the UK and challenged members of the public to see whether they could find the fakes among a group of original paintings. All seven of the paintings produced for the national competition will be on display in Cheltenham from 17 June – 15 October.

Visitors can see the ‘fake’ paintings and one original from the hit series brought together for the very first time. The fakes have been painted by leading copyists including John Myatt, the art forger behind what Scotland Yard called ‘the biggest art fraud of the 20th century’.

Columnist, author and restaurant critic Giles Coren who will open the exhibition commented:

“Filming the series gave me an astonishing window into the skills, tricks and tactics of master copyists who need staggering chutzpah as well as considerable talent to execute apparently identical copies of the great works of art. I'm delighted that members of the public can now see the paintings produced for the series in person for the first time at this one-off exhibition on display at The Wilson this summer.”

Julie Finch CEO of The Cheltenham Trust which manages The Wilson said:

“There is something about the ‘art’ of a forger which fascinates people and the Trust is delighted to be able to bring this one-off exhibition to Cheltenham which we think will prove really popular coming from a Sky Arts TV series to have a second life at The Wilson.  We’re hoping this exhibition will bring in people who wouldn’t ordinarily think about coming to an art gallery as well as those with a deeper knowledge of the art world.”

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, comments:

“Fake! The Great Masterpiece Challenge has thrilled Sky Arts viewers and encouraged people up and down the country to enjoy the magnificent paintings available for free in our public collections. It really does demonstrate that art does get more interesting the closer you look.”

Fake: The Great Reveal will give visitors the chance to spot the difference between an original and a forgery  – as well as giving an insight into how the art world proves what’s real and what’s fake.  In our ‘Play-giarise’ area families and visitors can have fun creating their own forgeries.

The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of activities and talks throughout the summer and autumn including a talk from curator and author Riah Pryor on her 2016 book ‘Crime and the Art Market’ (Lund Humphries, 2016) drawing on her unique experience of having worked as an art market journalist and as a researcher at New Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Unit.

Interviews available with curator Riah Pryor and some of the copyists on request.

Fake: The Great Reveal is open to the public from 17 June – 15 October. Please confirm your attendance at the private view to

Please click on the link below to read a review of this exhibition.


External Website: More details about The Wilson - Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum and ‘Fakes’ from Sky Arts series to feature in new exhibition exploring forgery in the art market


The Wilson - Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum

Four new floors house extensive galleries for temporary exhibitions – for international / national touring shows, special highlights from our collections and fun shows for families – space to discover local heroes and archive collections, including the great Edward Wilson (one of Scott's key men on his 1912 expedition to Antarctica), and a new gallery space in which the internationally renowned Arts & Crafts collection is shown.

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