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Publisher: SPANISH FORGER
Title: Vellum leaf with a large miniature showing saint surrounded by noble women in typical medieval dresses.
Published in: Paris (?), c.1890-1920
   
Size: 18.5 x 14.0 inches.
47.0 x 35.5 cm.
Colouring:

In attractive strong original colours.
Condition: Painting on velum, emphasized with gold. Generally very fine. Size of the leaf 470 x 355mm. Attributed to the "Spanish Forger", on an sheet from the beginning of the 16th century.
Condition Rating

With a large miniature (225x215mm) showing a scene with in the center a saint surrounded by medieval figures (Isabella of France and her son the future Edward III ?) descending from a ship in front of a city. The miniature is framed by a large floral garland mixed with human figures and natural and fantastic dragon and bird representations.

Verso with 7 staves of four horizontal lines of music.

The scene represents a saint surrounded by noble women in typical medieval dresses, in the back-ground a castle is rising above the crowed. The right three person unloading cargo from a ship. Numerous scenes painted by the Spanish Forger have boating scenes.

Painted on a sheet from the beginning of the 16th century. Just as the forger always used old wood for his panels, he used old vellum, mostly from Choir Books, for his manuscript illuminations. Thus the text and musical notation on the verso of the left are genuine, adding to the deception. He never painted over text to avoid tell-tale see-through, and he scraped it away wherever he added miniatures.

The painting is attributed to the ‘Spanish Forger’. The Spanish Forger was named from the first work identified as a fake, in 1930. This was a panel in the style of Jorge Inglés, who was active in Spain in the 1440s, but was English by birth. Since then there have been suggestions that the forger was Portuguese, Belgian, Swiss, English or, most plausibly, French. He seems to have worked over a long period, from the 1890s to the 1920s

Bella da Costa Greene gave him this name because one of the first works she exposed in 1930 had been previously attributed to Jorge Inglès who had been active in Spain. The number of miniatures and panel paintings attributed to the Spanish Forger has steadily grown.
In 1939 it was thought to be 14. By 1978, when New York’s Morgan Library curator William Voelkle held a show, it was 150. Mr Voelkle, who is still at the Morgan, says his latest tally is 348. All are in the style of 14th- and 15th-century artists. He “suspects there are more examples in private collections and even some in museums, which have not been recognised”.

They are mostly painted on wood panels or on old vellum, taken from an Italian antiphony of around 1400. Music remains on the reverse, while the front has been scraped before the illuminations were added.

His figures all have high cheek bones, small pursed lips and disinterested expressions, commonly incline their heads at approximately 30°.
With time, the Spanish Forger became a full-fledged artist, with his imitations being highly looked and avidly collected by institutions and private collectors alike, and were exposed as forgeries in the mid-twentieth century (see J. Backhouse "The Spanish Forger", British Museum Quarterly 33, 1968, pp.65-71, and W. Voelkle’s comprehensive catalogue The Spanish Forger, 1978).





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