The Imperfect Perfections of the Spanish Forger

Manuscript_Illumination_Spanish_Forger

The Spanish Forger

was an unknown artisan who fooled the art world in the early part of the 20th century creating medieval artwork, specifically miniatures. Using original parchment and sometimes scraping the  words from the leaves of genuine medieval books, he created many forgeries that are still found in museums around the world. To date, about 200 pieces have been identified as belonging to the Spanish Forger. What is surprising is that now these pieces earn  a respectable price in the auction houses in their own right. His notoriety was such that his work was the subject of an exhibition at the Morgan Library in New York City in 1978.

Belle da Costa Greene

Medieval culture scholar from the British Library, Mary Wellesley, has made a fascinating detective-like film about the woman who uncovered his deception, Belle da Costa Greene. This intriguing lady was not averse to keeping secrets – her own true identity was kept hidden from the wider world too. It was Greene who felt that the perfect ‘sugary’ world depicted felt out of place in a world where pious and pensive were more appropriate than sweet and cloying.

Watch this cleverly made film for more on Greene and the Spanish Forger.