Art Forger Taking Advantage of Notoriety

The British artist Robert Thwaites is out of prison and looking to cash in on his new found notoriety as an art forger. Thwaites was sentenced to two years prison after he was charged with forging the work of the 19th century painter of fairies John Anster Fitzgerald.

He told the Guardian “It wasn’t a disaster. It was a risk I took and I was pragmatic enough to realise it could all go wrong and that if it did go wrong I would be punished. I deserved it. I wouldn’t do it again but if I can use the notoriety, why not? I love to paint.. And I am very good.”

One victim of his forged Fitzgerald paintings was an expert featured on the Antiques Roadshow program from the BBC. Rupert Maas paid 20,000 pounds for “The Miser” and insisted on keeping the work, even after finding out that it was a fake. I wonder of it was because it was such a good painting or Maas (a gallery owner) wanted to remind himself to be more careful in the future?!

I can’t help thinking we live in a mixed up world. As an artist and a (wanna be) art collector (of very affordable works), I wouldn’t support the life of a fraud by buying his paintings. If the artist was “very good”, as he puts it, he wouldn’t need to be copying the work of others.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. It is odd that Maas would choose to keep the fake… do you think he winces every time he looks at it? ;-#

  2. The Guardian article says that he kept the painting because it was such a good copy, but I think it’s his way of punishing himself for being taken for a ride.

    It would be a great reminder to be more careful when buying a painting.. especially a painting that has been hiding in the shed or passed down from long lost relatives.

  3. I can understand why he is keeping it, talk about a daily sobering reminder, ouch!

    I will say this, it is refreshing to hear someone (art forger) say they were wrong, that they understood the consequences and deserved it. Doesn’t make it right, but it isn’t something you hear very often.

  4. It’s a good investment – if the forger becomes even more famous then the forgery will become a well known piece of work in its own right and may well exceed the price paid originally.
    All art copies something. An artist once had the nerve to try and paint me until I pointed out that I claimed full copyright over all aspects of my appearence. After all sculpting a visage this ugly take time and money – booze isnt cheap in the UK – I don’t think Maas need to have a forged painting to help him sober up.

  5. Way to go, Thwaites. Quite a few artists started their career as copyists/forgers. Now prove the people you are as good as you say you are.

  6. With fake luxury goods becoming fashionable maybe art forgeries will be next!

  7. Ha fake art becoming popular. Interesting idea. Wouldn’t suprise me if it did.

  8. stephen cox says:

    I knew robert some 30 years ago in manchester.His statement about his skills is no exaggeration .I have rarely seen such mastery since Hilliard.May he now prosper.
    Stephen Cox(nee Jones)

  9. i would appreciate it if someone who knows Robert could put him in touch with me, i want to commission him

  10. Maas kept the painting because it was worth every penny. Rob was a neighbour of mine and a lovely quiet unassuming man who like many living artists struggled to make a living. He should never have gone to prison as no danger to society like some of the scum walking the streets

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