The Fake Or Fortune team embark on their furthest-flung investigation, as they head to Australia to see if they can prove that an online purchase from an English auction site is a lost work by Tom Roberts, considered one of Australia’s greatest artists.
When Australian couple Joe and Rosanna Natoli came across a painting bearing the signature ‘Tom Roberts’ on the website of an English auction site they couldn’t quite believe it. Roberts is considered one of Australia’s most important artists, a pioneer of Australian Impressionism whose works hangs in major galleries.
Even minor pictures sell for hundreds of thousands of pounds and the painting, a dramatic image of an anguished artist titled Rejected, had all the hallmarks of a lost early work.
After a fierce bidding war, Joe bought the painting, shipped it back to Brisbane and presented it to a leading expert on the artist’s work – only to be told that it was not genuine.
This was just the beginning of Joe and Rosanna’s troubles. Three years after they bought the painting, Joe’s business went bankrupt and the family lost their home.
Joe still firmly believes that his original hunch was right and he’s asked Fake or Fortune for help. As an early work by Tom Roberts, the picture could be worth over £200,000. If the team can prove that Joe was right all along, it might give the family a chance to secure a home of their own.
The team believe some of the answers to the mystery lie in Tom Roberts’s time in England, where he trained at the Royal Academy in the 1880s. The quest for further proof takes them to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne – where they encounter several alarming fakes.
Can the team find enough evidence to earn the painting a second hearing?
Season 6 Episode 2 (of 4) airs on Sunday 3 September 2017 from 7.05pm-8.05pm on BBC One.