Mill Street Scene “after Lowry” that a confidence trickster sold for £330,000.

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Derbyshire-based Mr Smith said: "Only buy a Lowry if it has excellent provenance and has been through either Lef?vre, Crane Kalman or Richard Green.

"If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."

Maurice 'Lord' Taylor, was convicted of six counts of fraud on March 5 at Chester Crown Court for knowingly selling the fake Lowry painting to Mr Smith.

Mr Smith told ATG how he was taken in by the title and agreed to buy the painting for £330,000 during a meeting at the Ritz in London in 2007.

"I was introduced by a London art dealer friend at the Ritz," he said. "He showed me an insurance document from Bonhams valuing it at £600,000. I just thought it must be right."

Taylor, 60, of Congleton, Cheshire, who bought the title Lord Taylor Windsor off the internet, purchased Mill Street Scene for £7500 in 2004 as 'after Lowry' from Manchester art dealer Martin Heaps. He then concocted a provenance, claiming he had bought the painting in the 1960s from an industrialist called Eddie Rosenfeld.

Mr Smith, who never took possession of the painting, paid £230,000 of the agreed price to Taylor before sending an image of the work to another Manchester art dealer, who told him it was a well-known fake. Mr Smith then contacted the police.

In court, former head of galleries at The Lowry, Lindsay Brooks, said the painting was not a Lowry as, by 1964, the date on the canvas, Lowry's style had evolved, and she questioned the red lampposts, the lack of fluidity in the middle distance and muddy skies. Taylor maintained he believed the painting was genuine but admitted telling "little white lies" about its history.

Taylor will be sentenced on March 20. Mr Smith is doubtful he will have his money returned.