A Forger’s Tale
by Shaun Greenhalgh
Allen & Unwin

At the age of 11, during an excursion to the British Museum in London, Shaun Greenhalgh walked through the Assyrian exhibits and was taken aback by the huge winged bulls and reliefs, “similar to cartoon strips”. Mentally cataloguing these pieces, because he knew even then that he wanted to make the same, he would spend 20 years perfecting his craft before being able to reproduce these “fantastic things” faithfully. (Un)fortunately, the reliefs would prove his undoing, although not before he had become Britain’s master forger in a wide range of disciplines, selling copied works of Lowry and Gauguin as well as antiquities to auction houses and museums around the world – including the British Museum. In 2007, he was sentenced to four years and eight months in jail, which gave him the time to write this book. A memoir of sorts, it purports to correct inaccuracies levelled by the press at the time about why such a talented artist (with no proper training) would stoop to forgery. Oddly, however, in parts it reads like a how-to guide. Greenhalgh’s cheeky chappie tone is variously appealing and unpalatable.