IN Antiques Trade Gazette No 1276, February 22, 1997, I reviewed a fascinating but somewhat disconcerting exhibition at Archeus Fine Art in London of drawings by Eric Hebborn (1934-1996), who has been described as the maker of the finest art fakes of the 20th century. The show offered rather convincing ‘Old Master’ drawings after the likes of Raphael, Rembrandt and Watteau, which were selling at prices up to £2500.
I now learn that one of these, Saskia Carrying Rumbartus
Downstairs, a pen-and-ink sketch after Rembrandt's original in the
Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, has recently been stolen,
together with silver items, from a Suffolk house.
The owner is the father-in-law of well-known picture dealer
Jonathan Dodd of Waterhouse & Dodd in London's Cork Street, who
believes there are no labels on the frame to indicate that the work
While not demeaning the seriousness of the burglary, Mr Dodd does
think it quite amusing. As he explains: "Somewhere, sometime, the
thieves will be trying to dispose of what looks like a very good
Rembrandt drawing. However, the buyer who suspects it's the genuine
thing will have two major disappointments: first it's not, and
second it's hot. And having sold a drawing as a quite acknowledged
fake, I think Hebborn will be laughing in his grave."
The picture, which is illustrated as Plate 21 in Hebborn's The Art
Forger's Handbook (published in 1997 by Cassell), shows a woman
carrying a child down a narrow flight of stairs. Anybody with
information on the drawing's whereabouts should telephone the
Suffolk Constabulary on 01473 613500.
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