Page last updated at 15:03 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Man convicted over LS Lowry con

Mill Street Scene
The painting was valued as a Lowry by Bonhams

A self-styled lord has been convicted of knowingly trying to sell a fake LS Lowry painting.

Maurice Taylor, 60, who bought the title Lord Taylor Windsor on the internet, tricked auctioneers Bonhams with the 1964 Mill Street Scene.

Taylor, of Congleton, Cheshire, claimed he bought the painting in the 1960s from an industrialist, but had actually paid 7,500 in 2004 to a gallery owner.

He was convicted of six counts of fraud at Chester Crown Court.

Taylor invented a story to improve the value of the painting, which was by artist Arthur Delaney in Lowry's style.

He told Bonhams he bought it in the late 1960s from an industrialist called Eddie Rosenfeld.

Jail sentence

Rosenfeld died in 1984 and Bonhams failed to see through the story and gave Taylor a 600,000 insurance valuation.

Taylor then used the valuation as part of a plan to fool eventual buyer David Smith, managing director of Neptune Fine Arts.

Mr Smith agreed to purchase the painting during a meeting in a Ritz Hotel room.

It was only months later in late 2007 when Mr Smith had handed over 230,000 that he found out the snowy picture full of matchstick figures was a fake.

The judge, Roger Dutton, told him: "You have been revealed, or the circumstances of this case as accepted by the jury, mean you are a fraud, a cheat and a thoroughly dishonest man I am afraid.

"You gained several hundred thousand pounds out of your deception.

"You must understand when you come back for sentence you are likely to receive a significant custodial sentence."

Taylor was cleared of falsifying an invoice to aid his cover up and released on bail.

He will be sentenced on 20 March.

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