Seized forged art worth millions goes on display at the V&A (UK)

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A multimillion-pound collection of forged artwork seized by police will go on display for the first time today. More than 100 fakes, from Lowry and Banksy paintings to Barbara Hepworth sculptures, form part of an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The garden-shed workshop of one of the most diverse art fakers in British history, Shaun Greenhalgh, has also been re-created. The master forger was jailed for four years and eight months in 2007 after police discovered an astonishing array of work at his home in Bolton. Greenhalgh turned out artefacts, from Ancient Egyptian statues to Lowry pastels, Roman silver tableware and a “lost” Barbara Hepworth duck sculpture.

Detective Sergeant Vernon Rapley, who leads the Met’s art and antiques unit, said that art fakery remained a thriving business, with criminals imitating modern artists including Banksy and Tracey Emin. Officers suspect that organised crime gangs are becoming involved in selling fake art as a way to finance activities, with most forgers creating works worth less than £10,000 as they will attract less attention and may not be checked thoroughly.

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