YOU’D have thought he’d be glad to see the back of it. But duped art dealer David Smith of Neptune Fine Art has bought back the fake Lowry picture he originally purchased for £330,000.
This time, Mr Smith paid just £13,500 for the Manchester street
scene when it was offered at Cheshire auctioneers Adam
Partridge on October 28, with an estimate of £5000-10,000
and correctly catalogued as by the Manchester artist Arthur Delaney
(1927-1987), a follower of Lowry.
Mr Smith had been tricked into buying the picture during a
meeting at the Ritz hotel by the self-styled "Lord" Maurice Taylor
of Congleton, Cheshire. Taylor had purchased the oil on canvas in
2004 for £7500, knowing it to be by Delaney, but had already
deceived Bonhams into issuing a £600,000 insurance valuation on the
painting which he used to persuade Smith.
At Adam Partridge, the Delaney painting was sold alongside two
genuine Lowry pictures and other works seized by police from
Taylor's home, Brownlow Hall, near Congleton.
In March this year Taylor was sentenced at Chester Crown Court
to three years' imprisonment after denying six counts of fraud and
one of forging an invoice to cover his tracks. He was subsequently
ordered to pay back £1,157,300, which included £230,000 to Mr Smith
and £8000 prosecution costs. If he fails to do so, he faces a
further ten years in prison.
"We wanted it and we bought it," said the Derbyshire-based Mr
Smith, following the auction. "We would have paid whatever it took,
but now we've got it we don't intend to sell it. We'll hang it
somewhere where we'll be able to see it every day and have a good
By Anna Brady