The Art Detective: Adventures of an Antiques Roadshow Appraiser Info

Fan Club Reviews of best titles on art fashion, artists, history, photography. Check out our top reviews and see what others have to say about the best art and photography books of the year. Check out The Art Detective: Adventures of an Antiques Roadshow Appraiser Community Reviews - Find out where to download The Art Detective: Adventures of an Antiques Roadshow Appraiser available in multiple formats:Paperback,Hardcover,Audible Audiobook,Kindle,Audio CD The Art Detective: Adventures of an Antiques Roadshow Appraiser Author:Philip Mould Formats:Paperback,Hardcover,Audible Audiobook,Kindle,Audio CD Publication Date:Apr 26, 2011


The art world has never seemed so deceptive--or so much fun. A
star of Antiques Roadshow shares his stories of
discovering masterpieces and unmasking forgeries. 

How
can you tell a masterpiece from a piece of junk?
Philip Mould
has been so successful at discovering buried treasures that he's
affectionately known as "the art detective." Now, at last, he has
decided to let the eleven million fans of Antiques Roadshow in on
his secrets. Each chapter revolves around a particular painting and the
people who helped unmask its creator's identity-from an ingeniously
forged Norman Rockwell (good enough to fool the Rockwell Museum) to a
Winslow Homer found in a dump. Witty and compulsively readable, The
Art Detective
is memoir, art history, and brilliant storytelling all
rolled into one.

Average Ratings and Reviews
review-bg

3.97

1216 Ratings

5

4

3

2

1


Ratings and Reviews From Market


client-img 4.2
10
7
2
2
0
client-img 4
0
0
0
2
0
client-img 3.72
464
428
135
4
0

Reviews for The Art Detective: Adventures of an Antiques Roadshow Appraiser:

4

Sep 28, 2014

When you go to a car dealer, you can be reasonably sure that Toyota or BMW or Ford is, indeed, a Toyota or BMW or Ford. The dealer doesn't have to trace the VIN through the whole supply chain back to the factory to confirm the nameplate's legit. Simple.

Not so much for buying art. Rembrandt didn't put serial numbers on his paintings. Famous artists had schools and followers who learned how to paint or sculpt the way the master did, started or helped with the master's works, maybe knocked off a When you go to a car dealer, you can be reasonably sure that Toyota or BMW or Ford is, indeed, a Toyota or BMW or Ford. The dealer doesn't have to trace the VIN through the whole supply chain back to the factory to confirm the nameplate's legit. Simple.

Not so much for buying art. Rembrandt didn't put serial numbers on his paintings. Famous artists had schools and followers who learned how to paint or sculpt the way the master did, started or helped with the master's works, maybe knocked off a canvas on the side for a client who wanted the look but not the price. Over the course of decades or centuries, the varnish yellows and clouds, the piece gets damaged or altered, and restorers (or, especially in the old days, "restorers") may overpaint the original work to "fix" it. It finally lands on an easel in a gallery or auction house and the questions begin: is this an original or copy? Who really created it? What's it worth? What a modern dealer does with such dilemmas depends on his ambition, honesty, and desire to solve the puzzle.

Philip Mould, this book's titular art detective, runs a successful London gallery specializing in 16th-19th Century portraits, and as such appears to regularly find himself grappling with these problems. Devotees of the British version of Antiques Roadshow may recognize his name. This book is a collection of stories of his adventures. Each of the six "cases" takes him down a trail that often leads across oceans, through archives and museums, and into the homes of the great and humble.

Mould is an able and personable narrator. Learned, literate, yet self-deprecating, he manages to avoid the stuffed-shirt tone common to art experts speaking about art. These are the tales he might tell at a dinner party in a posh Kensington townhome or over drinks at the club, and in much the same way. He manages to minimize his use of specialist-speak (the often impenetrable argot of the art world) and usually takes care to explain what he's up to and why. He also avoids the pitfall of "I" -- making it sound like he's the one doing all the heavy lifting. He regularly includes his extended network of employees, colleagues, friends and contacts in Europe and North America and credits them with their contributions to his sleuthing.

This is essentially a short-story anthology and has the episodic nature common to such things. Don't expect a strong throughline or to have any overall summing-up. Surprisingly, the client rarely appears; the point to all of Mould's detecting is to fetch the best price for the work in question, but we rarely see the purchaser's reaction to all this work or hear from them whether any of it has the intended effect. (Indeed, at least two of the stories involve work done for museums, which is interesting but hardly a gallerist's typical calling.) The book is tightly bound to the art markets in Britain and the American Northeast, with their similar attitudes and standards. It would've been nice to see Mould carry out his work in the wider global art market, and perhaps learn how, say, Chinese or Mideastern clients and institutions react to his brand of truth-seeking.

The Art Detective is an entertaining and engaging account of real-life detective work in the rather odd world of art collecting. Its narrator is easy to get along with, and the supporting characters are often equally colorful. If you're at all interested in how we figure out whether a painting is a masterpiece or hotel art, this is a good place to start. ...more
3

Mar 15, 2011

Mould is a little too casual and chatty for my taste, although I'm sure I'd enjoy him on Antiques Roadshow. I'm interested in the topic - art restoration, misattributions, connoisseurship, the detective work of finding out who really painted something - but I'd rather either see it done on the telly, or read more academic works about it. The book, though small, has two sections of color plates, which is nice. Without them I think it would be exceedingly boring. With them, we can compare before Mould is a little too casual and chatty for my taste, although I'm sure I'd enjoy him on Antiques Roadshow. I'm interested in the topic - art restoration, misattributions, connoisseurship, the detective work of finding out who really painted something - but I'd rather either see it done on the telly, or read more academic works about it. The book, though small, has two sections of color plates, which is nice. Without them I think it would be exceedingly boring. With them, we can compare before and after Rembrandts, definitive Gainsboroughs vs. "follower of Ruisdael", real vs. fake Norman Rockwells.

The most interesting details involve things like what the Hermitage Museum did in the first half of the 20th century, removing paintings from their damaged wood panels and transferring them to canvas, which turned out to be a terrible idea, sometimes altering the paint surface itself when the adhesive leached through or when too much wood was planed off, damaging canvas or paint. I also appreciated his distinction between art history and connoisseurship. The art historian, whose expertise is more theoretical, may not always be the best connoisseur, whose expertise is practical. The connoisseur, someone whose expertise is "defining and recognizing the strokes of the master," is going to be more helpful in Mould's line of work than the art historian. ...more
3

Jun 20, 2010

As an art freak I enjoyed this book.

The episodes were of varying interest to me, what I found most fascinating was the "bad restorer" problem.

Say you have a 17th century masterpiece but with a bit of damage. Now if you were clever, you could just paint the damaged areas. But that takes an annoying amount of patience. Instead, just slather a bunch of paint over the area and keep blending until it sort of looks OK but obliterating a large amount of the original work, and maybe this happens a As an art freak I enjoyed this book.

The episodes were of varying interest to me, what I found most fascinating was the "bad restorer" problem.

Say you have a 17th century masterpiece but with a bit of damage. Now if you were clever, you could just paint the damaged areas. But that takes an annoying amount of patience. Instead, just slather a bunch of paint over the area and keep blending until it sort of looks OK but obliterating a large amount of the original work, and maybe this happens a couple of more times, all the while dust embedding into aging browning varnish. Before you know it, you have an obscure painting by "a follower of" or "in the manner of" the master, or maybe mistaken for the creation of an entirely different artist, and valued at a fraction of the price that the work as originally conceived would command.

So if like Mould, your job is to find lost masterpieces buried under the gunk, there is considerable drama and risk, but also a tremendous upside potential after the work of restoration. Although he is in a treu business, there are for him considerable non-monetary compensations, such as testing his connoisseur and wits, living in the presence of beautifully crafted objects. ...more
5

Jul 01, 2014

Really enjoyed this book, but I will say, it's definitely a niche book, so to speak. I was acquainted with Philip Mould through the British Antiques Roadshow. I always enjoyed his segments, and I have a large interest in art, art history, and the art market, so it seemed like a good fit for me. I found all the "cases" very interesting and I enjoyed Mould's style of writing. He has a very rich vocabulary, which is rarely encountered in our world today, and I found that particularly refreshing. Really enjoyed this book, but I will say, it's definitely a niche book, so to speak. I was acquainted with Philip Mould through the British Antiques Roadshow. I always enjoyed his segments, and I have a large interest in art, art history, and the art market, so it seemed like a good fit for me. I found all the "cases" very interesting and I enjoyed Mould's style of writing. He has a very rich vocabulary, which is rarely encountered in our world today, and I found that particularly refreshing. Admittedly, if you are not interested in art history, you probably won't find it as fascinating as I did, but I went to college for a time as an art history major, so this book follows my inclinations. Overall, a lovely and entertaining book! ...more
4

May 11, 2018

Four and a half stars for not being able to put it down, for being well-structured, and for above all being fascinating. Mould walks the reader through the world of expensive art deals, from discovering paintings rotting away in barns to forgeries to slogging through fields to find the exact site where a masterpiece was born. He and his staff and the buyers and sellers they meet come across as real people that you might want to meet and chat with.

Mould has a skill for slowly revealing the Four and a half stars for not being able to put it down, for being well-structured, and for above all being fascinating. Mould walks the reader through the world of expensive art deals, from discovering paintings rotting away in barns to forgeries to slogging through fields to find the exact site where a masterpiece was born. He and his staff and the buyers and sellers they meet come across as real people that you might want to meet and chat with.

Mould has a skill for slowly revealing the mystery behind a painting or situation. You get the feeling that he’s told these stories at parties and dinners countless times and has perfected his delivery, and that somehow he’s managed to transfer that to print as well.

One half star off because Mould seems like a cool guy and then he’ll mention some interaction with someone he doesn’t think is on his high level and boy does he come off as a pompous snob. ...more
3

Mar 18, 2018

a bunch of stories about a subject i should have found interesting, but i was kind of bored throughout. this is not a mystery,
3

May 11, 2019

It was an interesting look into the work of a gallery owner. The stories behind the art works and their acquisitions were interesting. But the title was really not reflective of the material. “Fakes, Frauds and Finds” were promised but each of the stories were about successful acquisitions of genuine pieces of art by known artists. I don’t blame the author for focusing on his triumphs but I feel the text didn’t deliver what the title promised.

Other than that, I learned that you should always It was an interesting look into the work of a gallery owner. The stories behind the art works and their acquisitions were interesting. But the title was really not reflective of the material. “Fakes, Frauds and Finds” were promised but each of the stories were about successful acquisitions of genuine pieces of art by known artists. I don’t blame the author for focusing on his triumphs but I feel the text didn’t deliver what the title promised.

Other than that, I learned that you should always keep your colas away from your art. ...more
3

Jun 05, 2018

An interesting collection of stories about lost and found art treasures from one of the hosts of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow. Interesting enough even if you don't know a lot about art, although it might have even more significance if you did.
4

Jun 07, 2010

I received "The Art Detectives" as part of the Goodreads First Read program.

I'm not an art connoisseur by any stretch, although I do have my tastes and don't mind the occasional museum stroll. I love history and I love a good story. When you combine art, history and terrific storytelling, you come out with a book like "The Art Detectives" by Philip Mould.

The book is structured around 6 specific paintings, and the mysteries that surround/surrounded them. Mould is a fantastic writer. He's clear, I received "The Art Detectives" as part of the Goodreads First Read program.

I'm not an art connoisseur by any stretch, although I do have my tastes and don't mind the occasional museum stroll. I love history and I love a good story. When you combine art, history and terrific storytelling, you come out with a book like "The Art Detectives" by Philip Mould.

The book is structured around 6 specific paintings, and the mysteries that surround/surrounded them. Mould is a fantastic writer. He's clear, concise and sometimes poetic. It's an odd thing to focus on when considering a work of non-fiction, but his writing is as expressive and pronounced as anything I've read recently.

Mould avoids the pretension, condescension and patronizing tone that one might expect from a book on high art. And surprisingly, each story is a strong tale in and of itself. At their best, they are very personal, human and touching. At their worst, they're simply good mysteries that Mould unravels layer-by-layer with a blending of personal insight, relevant experiences, historical background and significance. And it all flows beautifully through his solid prose and storytelling abilities.

The strongest tale is of Moulds' meetings with an eccentric hoarder named Earle Newton. The story ranges from their first interactions, to their first and subsequent visits. Newton is more of an "ammasser" than he is a collector, and the real heart of the narrative is Newton's wackiness and the impact of his hoarding on his family.

Family is also at the heart of a story that centers on a well known art deception (and recovery) of a Norman Rockwell painting. After subtle clues circulate around Rockwell's "Break Home Ties", two brothers hunt for the truth of whether their father owned a real Rockwell, and whether or not he knew it was a fake.

Mould does an amazing job of making art history accessible and interesting. All of his stories involve the detective work required to identify what is genuine and authentic from what is a pretender. Mould is both eloquent and passionate in "Mystery of the Missing Gainsborough" and "The Rembrandt in Disguise". Tudor England is the focus of "A Queen in Distress", and colonial Caribbean in "A Winslow Homer Lost and Found" as Mould turns art and history into compelling mysteries.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to readers of history, mysteries and certainly art. ...more
4

Aug 31, 2011

Mr. Mould is a dealer is British art and Old Masters as well as being a featured art expert on BBC episodes of The Antiques Road Show. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on British portraiture. One would think this would lead to a stuffy textbook like approach to his writing. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the reader gets to know Mr. Mould through his book it becomes quite obvious that he truly enjoys what he does and writes about it with enthusiasm and quite often Mr. Mould is a dealer is British art and Old Masters as well as being a featured art expert on BBC episodes of The Antiques Road Show. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on British portraiture. One would think this would lead to a stuffy textbook like approach to his writing. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the reader gets to know Mr. Mould through his book it becomes quite obvious that he truly enjoys what he does and writes about it with enthusiasm and quite often a sense of humor.

In this book he discusses topics ranging from outright art fraud through to the intricate steps taken to restore damaged pieces of priceless art. He focuses primarily on six individual items ranging from the discovery of a rare portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth I, a copied Rockwell that turns out to be an original and a Hogarth painting haphazardly stored amongst a hoarder’s trove.

Reading this book was like traveling the world as an observer into the world of discovering fine (and sometimes not so fine) works of art. Very enjoyable.
...more
4

Jul 09, 2010

When I first received this book through the first-reads program, I had expected a collection of stories chronicling the rarified world of the museum setting. Instead Philip Mould, shows that although the glamour of the art world does exist, behind the museum walls there are restorers, scholars, and collectors who are truly passionate about art and dedicate themselves to seek out lost treasures.

Part-history lesson, part-detective novel, the author traveled far and wide and found himself in a When I first received this book through the first-reads program, I had expected a collection of stories chronicling the rarified world of the museum setting. Instead Philip Mould, shows that although the glamour of the art world does exist, behind the museum walls there are restorers, scholars, and collectors who are truly passionate about art and dedicate themselves to seek out lost treasures.

Part-history lesson, part-detective novel, the author traveled far and wide and found himself in a dilapitated church in Vermont to the English countryside to the archives in Jamaica and met colorful characters along the way. This book is no boring art history lesson. I really enjoyed this book and will recommend it to my fellow art-loving friends. ...more
4

Feb 24, 2014

This is a fascinating book. The author worked on Antiques Roadshow, and also owns a gallery where he and his coworkers handle everything from restoration to purchases to authentication. This book follows some of what Mould considers his most interesting cases-I particularly found interesting the Norman Rockwell Hoax, which read like a mystery with all its twists and turns, and the Queen Elizabeth portrait, which contained a lot of fascinating royal history. While I did occasionally get bogged This is a fascinating book. The author worked on Antiques Roadshow, and also owns a gallery where he and his coworkers handle everything from restoration to purchases to authentication. This book follows some of what Mould considers his most interesting cases-I particularly found interesting the Norman Rockwell Hoax, which read like a mystery with all its twists and turns, and the Queen Elizabeth portrait, which contained a lot of fascinating royal history. While I did occasionally get bogged down on some of the details (I love art, and history, but am in no way an expert on either), I loved this book nonetheless. ...more
3

May 02, 2016

I think this book's title is somewhat misleading.
I was expecting a book on international art scandals, and this isn't quite it.
A better title would have been "Some Interesting Stories from My Life As An Art Dealer".
That's what this book is, an art dealer who tells us about some of the interesting things that happened to him in his career. It's a perfectly fine book and I still enjoyed it, but the title over-hypes it as having a much broader spectrum than it actually has.
3

Jun 17, 2015

Chatty, intriguing reminiscences from an art dealer who specializes in British historical portraits. Includes descriptions of forgeries, lost masterpieces, thefts, eccentric collectors, and world travels. Someone with a background in art history would probably find this too basic, but I enjoyed it.
4

Sep 02, 2010

This book is the "thrill of the hunt" in print with the best possible results,...works of art with historical significance. As someone who enjoys perusing estate sales for the "big find" and art history, this little book was a quick, satisfying read.
3

Nov 09, 2019

I had expected more ‘wonderful finds’ stories, & perhaps less life history of other art experts. It became a bit weighted down in places, but I did enjoy every story described ..and the ample descriptions, & dangers, of restoration of very old paintings. Interesting how often beautiful works of art were painted over .. thus the ‘art’ of finding them & bringing them back to original glory. I loved every instance of individual people & their stories of discovery & what happened I had expected more ‘wonderful finds’ stories, & perhaps less life history of other art experts. It became a bit weighted down in places, but I did enjoy every story described ..and the ample descriptions, & dangers, of restoration of very old paintings. Interesting how often beautiful works of art were painted over .. thus the ‘art’ of finding them & bringing them back to original glory. I loved every instance of individual people & their stories of discovery & what happened to them & their paintings. Fascinating story about Norman Rockwell.. glad his 2 sons kelp up the search!
The book ended with a controversy of ownership of a Winslow Homer watercolor of 3 children in Arabian costume.. which was left up in the air as the book went to print. I googled to see what happened & apparently ownership is still undecided as of November 2019! Gosh. Maybe somebody should just decide for them!
Or better yet... threaten to cut the painting in half... re: King Solomon and the 2 women both claiming the same baby!
Then see what happens.. ...more
5

Apr 28, 2019

Wow! This is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Several true accounts of finding so-called “lost“ works of art. The author and the narrator of the audiobook are clearly both passionate about art, about the business surrounding the art, about the people who buy the art, about the people who restore the art, and about the people who are depicted in the art. It was so thoroughly enjoy able to listen to someone who loves what he does for a living and every aspect of it. He explains the process Wow! This is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Several true accounts of finding so-called “lost“ works of art. The author and the narrator of the audiobook are clearly both passionate about art, about the business surrounding the art, about the people who buy the art, about the people who restore the art, and about the people who are depicted in the art. It was so thoroughly enjoy able to listen to someone who loves what he does for a living and every aspect of it. He explains the process of restoration, the process of the historical research, and the process of dealing with people in great detail and, I am glad to say, it never gets boring. I thoroughly enjoyed this book I cannot recommend it highly enough. ...more
5

Jun 29, 2017

This is a great, succinct little read featuring a nice cache of fascinating art world stories as shared by Philip Mould, a long time British art dealer and truly, art investigator. Covered here are the miraculous discoveries of old master works hidden beneath musty overpaint spotted by Mould and his associates' quick eyes, a infamous case of Norman Rockwell forgery evidently committed by one of the artists'. close friends, the miraculous discovery of a Winslow Homer watercolor in a dump and This is a great, succinct little read featuring a nice cache of fascinating art world stories as shared by Philip Mould, a long time British art dealer and truly, art investigator. Covered here are the miraculous discoveries of old master works hidden beneath musty overpaint spotted by Mould and his associates' quick eyes, a infamous case of Norman Rockwell forgery evidently committed by one of the artists'. close friends, the miraculous discovery of a Winslow Homer watercolor in a dump and identified by Mould on Antiques Roadshow, and more. All are very interesting anecdotes that are written in a lively, engaging style and give one a sense of the power and importance of hard, old fashioned research and trail-following. I'm glad Mould wrote this to document these tales. ...more
4

Jul 29, 2018

This book makes art work very exciting. The author tells us how they research each painting to find the history, artist and the background. He tells of some exciting finds he has made of paintings that have be touched up, botched up or messed up by people who were supposed to restore them. He told the story of a painting that was a fake held by the Rockwell Museum. He talked to the son of the man who hid the original to keep it from his ex-wife. He talks of a Rembrandt that was proved to be a This book makes art work very exciting. The author tells us how they research each painting to find the history, artist and the background. He tells of some exciting finds he has made of paintings that have be touched up, botched up or messed up by people who were supposed to restore them. He told the story of a painting that was a fake held by the Rockwell Museum. He talked to the son of the man who hid the original to keep it from his ex-wife. He talks of a Rembrandt that was proved to be a Rembrandt by the experts, after it was restored. Mould leaves the book on a question on whether a person who found a painting has the right to sell it. Very good book. Proves that librarians, researcher and historians are important to determining the history and cost of a painting. ...more
5

Oct 02, 2017

I really like this book. As an art history buff, this was a fascinating human angle on a subject I'd studied a lot academically, as dates and movements and concepts. The thrill of the chase and the novelty of the finds was balanced out by the humanity of the collectors and actors involved. The painting wasn't just cleaned - Philip Mould cleaned it like a naughty child sneaking a cookie before dinner. There is a family who bore the burden of a fanatical collector's strange treasure trove. A I really like this book. As an art history buff, this was a fascinating human angle on a subject I'd studied a lot academically, as dates and movements and concepts. The thrill of the chase and the novelty of the finds was balanced out by the humanity of the collectors and actors involved. The painting wasn't just cleaned - Philip Mould cleaned it like a naughty child sneaking a cookie before dinner. There is a family who bore the burden of a fanatical collector's strange treasure trove. A highly recommended read for anyone who likes art, treasure hunting, or dry British humour ...more
4

Dec 12, 2018

This book is the bomb if you are interested in Art History, esp. painting. The author goes through various stories about his experiences in tracking down/purchasing/selling different works of art. He is obviously an expert, and I could see how someone who is not interested in the topic wouldn't enjoy this book. The narrator is great. I am going to look at the book version if only to see the paintings the author talks about.
4

Jun 26, 2017

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Interesting stories about the discovery artworks and forgeries. Wonders will never cease at the authentication of the Norman Rockwell forgery. When a witness to the creation of an artwork tells you something was done to it and you cannot find any evidence of it, how do you continue to authenticate it? As an archivist, I found that completely frustrating. Good, even paced narration in the audio version.
4

Dec 04, 2017

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The author is a bit self aggrandizing, but over all a great book detailing a very interesting career in the art world. I only wish there was a second edition or post-script that told us how the final story in the book ended in the legal battle.
4

Jun 05, 2017

I've always been a little obsessed with art and literature academia sorts of mysteries, and this book presents many that the art dealer/author has encountered in his personal life. Fun and fascinating.
4

Aug 15, 2018

Exciting, interesting, amusing, and entertaining. Mould makes art history come to life and brings a humanity to his various investigations. Highly recommend.

Also, this would make such a good movie. I would watch the Netflix series. I have never seen Antique Roadshow, sorry.

Best Books from your Favorite Authors & Publishers

compare-icon compare-icon
Thousands of books

Take your time and choose the perfect book.

review-icon review-icon
Read Reviews

Read ratings and reviews to make sure you are on the right path.

vendor-icon vendor-icon
Multiple Stores

Check price from multiple stores for a better shopping experience.

gift-icon

Enjoy Result