'Artistic Licence' - Poem by guy lipmore
For seventeen years they had been fooling,
All the professionals with all that 'schooling'!
By an artist with many skills of forgery,
Aided and abetted by his family.
A true 'cottage industry', with a shed!
Every type of forgery, the art World was misled.
Paintings, tablets, pottery to water colours,
Sketches and all manner of sculptures.
Shaun was the artist the of the scam,
His dad was the front or 'salesman'.
Mother made calls and the contacts,
She was also 'sales' and promoted the 'artefacts'.
His brother headed the 'finance',
It seemed nothing was left to chance.
Homework and research they had done,
Meticulously planned, it seemed every one.
Each 'piece' had a 'back ground' story,
Letters and correspondence of 'authenticity'.
An elaborate scam, producing replicas,
Duping 'experts', gallery and museum curators.
Institutions and scholars of renown,
All were conned by the 'artefacts' shown.
Auction houses of Bonham's and Christies,
Not to mention the house of Sotheby's.
The British and the Tate modern,
Their 'experts' were so certain.
Each a prestigious museum!
Believing the fakes were genuine.
Deals were arranged then monies paid,
Modest and massive sums the family made.
A truly family home run business,
Each 'sale' adding to their 'success'!
The 'Armana Princess' was their 'crown jewel',
Even an Egyptian expert was taken for a fool.
Three and half thousand years old they had ‘confirmed',
It was deemed to be 'lost', the most expensive lie churned.
Three weeks it took Shaun to 'manufacture',
In his shed with a saw, chisel and hammer!
The tools were bought from the local B&Q!
For the scam the family wanted to pursue.
The local museum decided to purchase,
Unaware that something was amiss.
After all it had been authenticated,
And the final sum was allocated.
No alarm bells were raised,
The 'find' was internationally praised.
Housed in a purpose built glass case.
People came to see from all over the place,
Bolton folk and even the Queen went to view,
The 'ancient' and beautiful statue!
Maybe buoyed by their ‘greatest' piece,
Did they think their luck wouldn't cease.
Just one fake artefact too many?
Maybe getting sloppy or too cocky!
Maybe 'invincible' they thought!
Their luck was running short..
Errors on one of their last fakes,
Displayed some glaring 'mistakes'!
Inaccuracy on the tablet inscription,
Details wrong caused further suspicion.
Realization dawned on authorities,
Regards to how many possible forgeries!
Over the years, now and again,
Cropped up a certain family name!
Calls made and evidence pooled,
No longer were experts fooled!
Police raided the family home,
Where all the forgeries came were 'born'.
They were amazed from that visit,
And all the 'pending' fakes found in it.
Some were complete, some partly made,
With all the 'tools of the trade'!
Among them smelting gear and a kiln,
Evidence was there, guilty as sin.
The house wasn't exactly flash,
Considering the amounts of ‘earned'cash.
The family's life seemed frugal,
Rather unassuming, just normal.
Apart from a cheque for twenty grand,
Dated, nineteen ninety three, they found!
One hundred and twenty 'pieces' duplicated,
And as many a story fabricated.
Sold to many institutions,
Some probably in private collections!
So Shaun the 'master forger' was convicted,
For the 'heinous' crimes committed.
Four years, eight months in custody,
Money laundering and forgery.
As for his elderly parents,
They both got a suspended sentence.
Both were deemed too old and frail,
Also his dad in a 'wheelchair, ' with no suitable jail!
What can be made of this amazing story?
And the genius craftsman of forgery.
He was an artist by all intent and purpose,
The range of his work was diverse.
Almost a million pound was 'earned',
The true figure they never learned.
Six years, bank statements went back,
No further could they back track.
Authorities were well and truly done!
For the 'Armani Princess' and the paid sum.
Almost four hundred and forty thousand alone.
For the 'princess' made from a chunk of Dorset stone!
He had caused academia embarrassment,
And consternation in the art establishment.
Scholars with red faces and stomachs churned,
Interviews, in their seats they squirmed!
Academics who had verified many pieces,
Now coming up with many excuses.
The art establishment down played,
All the artefacts bought, sold and displayed.
Although the creativity was fraudulent,
They dismissed the man's obvious talent.
No doubt what he done was illegal,
And he paid the price for being a criminal.
But now that he's did his time and been released,
He could help fight others from being fleeced!
Give him a job and make him the head,
Of the countries art fraud squad!
Since his release from prison,
His artwork has been in an exhibition.
Displaying many of his past 'projects',
Organised by the police to expose counterfeits!
Meanwhile Shaun had launched his web site,
Selling his works that didn't require copyright!
It had been suggested of the family and him,
Their story would make a good film.
Maybe not action, special effects and thrills,
But of intrige, deceit, and a craftsman's skills.
That caused the elite and the posh trauma!
It would make a cracking British drama.....! !
Poet's Notes about The Poem
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