The perpetrator was Tom Keating, the artist, picture restorer and master forger. On trial for unleashing his 'Sexton Blakes' (rhyming slang for fakes) on to the art market, he was defended by the redoubtable Lord Hutchinson.
Here is an extract from Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories by Thomas Grant QC:
"Meanwhile Keating himself spent his time in court drawing. It was reported that he had already accomplished seven sketches of faces in court and that the 'policeman whose job it is to make sure he doesn't bolt for it was full of admiration for his work'."
|Sir James Miskin by Richard Stone Guildhall Art Gallery|
Judges have no discretion in the matter. Except for one, it seems. Was Sir James Miskin, the Recorder of London, indulgent, unobservant or just a bit rusty on the Criminal Justice Act?
He and Keating are now dead. Does anyone know what happened to the sketches?
The prosecution abandoned the case after Keating came off his motorbike and was not well enough to attend court. Some said the art market should have been in the dock, rather than Keating, who became a folk hero. If you find Civilisations a tad disappointing I suggest you watch his enlightening Channel 4 series Tom Keating on Painters on YouTube.