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Tuesday, August 4, 1998 Published at 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK


Cook Report artfully exposes experts

Roger Cook: painting a picture of the pitfalls of trading art

The production team of The Cook Report, the programme that investigates scams around the country, have landed themselves an unexpected bonus.

Researchers working on an edition of the programme on the buying and selling of art and antiques, have snapped up a L S Lowry painting worth around 30,000 at a snip of just 1,000.

The painting had been branded a "good fake" by the Lowry Museum in Salford, despite having been examined thoroughly by them.

As a result, a Nottingham auctioneer withdrew it from sale and sold it to the team, who wanted to use it in a "sting" operation later in the programme.

However, driven by the urge for fact and reluctant to rely on the evidence of one source alone, the team decided to take the painting for further consultations on its authenticity.

Truth at last

After various opinions, the team asked Lady Poppy Cooksey, an internationally-renowned restoration expert. She finally revealed the truth.

Lady Cooksey, who has worked on more than 100 paintings by Lowry, spotted that the artist's original signature was written in ball-point pen but had been written over with a pen at a later date.

This made it look like a fake when put under ultra violet light.

Her theory was also backed up by Andreas Kalman, who had known Lowry for 50 years, until his death in 1976.

Roger Cook, the host of the programme told reporters: "If these experts don't agree, what chance does the man in the street have? I've always had a cynical opinion of experts in the art world."

The painting has been valued at 30-40,000, but for insurance purposes it will be much higher.

But Carlton TV executives have no intention of selling it. Instead, it will go on display at the company's London headquarters.

The Cook Report's investigation will be shown on ITV on 19 August.

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