Page last updated at 23:40 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 00:40 UK

'Missing' fraud art goes on show

NGS curator with two of the paintings
NGS curator of prints and drawings Hannah Brocklehurst examines two of the works

A collection of paintings worth more than 500,000 is to go on show 10 years after an attempt to steal them.

The works by 19th Century artist David Roberts were left to The Art Fund charity in 1998 by owner Helen Guiterman but never materialised.

In 2006, her cousin's grandson Shaun Gray was sentenced to three years in jail for forging her will.

The Art Fund recovered the works, which will go on show next year at the National Galleries of Scotland.

The Art Fund has gone to great lengths to ensure that her generous wishes are fulfilled
David Barrie
Director of The Art Fund

The fund began to investigate the case after the works were not handed over when Ms Guiterman died and discovered that Gray was claiming to be the executor of her will.

He gave varying accounts of what had happened to the collection and, when he claimed Ms Guiterman had changed her will and said the works would no longer be donated, the charity raised the alarm.

Gray was jailed when he pleaded guilty to charges of false accounting and forgery.

He had forged Ms Guiterman's will, making himself entitled to her estate, including the collection of six oil paintings and 51 watercolours and drawings by David Roberts.

The fund recovered the paintings and arranged for them to be cared for until they could be legally received by the National Gallery of Scotland.

One of the recovered paintings
The collection includes Nuns in the Calefactory at Carmona

It had been agreed between Ms Guiterman and The Art Fund that the works should go to the gallery to complement their existing collection of Roberts' work.

David Barrie, director of The Art Fund, said: "Helen Guiterman was a devoted collector of the work of David Roberts, who, during his lifetime, was one of the best-known and most influential 19th Century British artists.

"The Art Fund has gone to great lengths to ensure that her generous wishes are fulfilled and I'm delighted that this impressive collection will at last join the National Galleries of Scotland."

Roberts, born in Stockbridge in Edinburgh in 1796, was popular and critically acclaimed during his lifetime, but tended to be overlooked until the extensive research of artist and enthusiast Ms Guiterman.

Drawings from the collection will be included in an exhibition - Imagining Spain: From Goya to Picasso, The British and Spain - from 18 July to 11 October 2009.


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