A Fascinating Book on Art / by Jeannine Cook

Between starting to paint and draw in my new studio and rushing off to swim in the chrystalline Mediterranean, I have been savouring of a most interesting book on all aspects of art. The Art Detective: Fakes, Frauds and Finds and the Search for Lost Treasures by Philip Mould is the perfect book for summer reading. Published last year in the UK by Viking, it appeared this year in the United States.

Not only is the account a fascinating story of finding lost or mis-identified art, especially by early British artists, but the author is generous with his insights and knowledge about art, good art, and how artists achieve their successful effects. His familiarity with the characteristics and idiosyncracies of artists' methods of painting, especially those of the 17th and 18th centuries, is very instructive. In fact, it is a book well worth re-reading, after the summer!

Many of us will be familiar with Philip Mould from his role on the BBC's Antique Roadshow so this book is a delightful addition to the erudition for which he is already recognised. What impressed me are the layers and layers of analysis, historical and artistic knowledge, technical expertise backed up with technology, and - ultimately - gut feelings that are brought to bear on a work of art. No wonder he is called an Art Detective. And he makes it all fascinating and fun.

It's a book well worth reading.