Fakes or Fortune!

(or have I found a Constable in my attic?)

by Sarah Cove

This talk will be held through Zoom but we will also screen it in the Cirencester Baptist Church hall. A Zoom link will be sent to Members in January.

Visitors are welcome to attend the talk in the hall, or purchase a ticket (£8) to watch over Zoom.

January 25th

Fakes or Fortune! (or have I found a Constable in my attic?)

Sarah Cove ACR founded the Constable Research Project in conjunction with the V&A Museum in 1986 to study John Constable RA’s materials and techniques from the technical and scientific point of view. Since then she has examined over 250 works from collections worldwide, from tiny oil sketches on fragments of canvas, paper supports and boards to the ‘six-footers’. She has developed a technical chronology that assists with the dating of his known works, relatively few of which were signed and dated by the artist and is also useful for the attribution (or not) of newly discovered pictures.

Sarah Cove has been instrumental in the attribution of three significant Constable oils for BBC1’s Fake or Fortune? series, appearing in 2014 and 2017. In 2014 she set up a Facebook page that is hugely successful in raising awareness of her research so that now she is regularly contacted by people that think they have a found a previously unknown Constable! Some have, some have not, as you will see in this lecture which gives a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how such decisions are made.

Image credit: Wiki Media Commons Public Domain and Sarah Cove

Sarah Cove


Sarah Cove is an accredited paintings conservator-restorer, technical art historian and lecturer with more than 35 years’ experience working on paintings for the heritage and private sectors. She is based in London and Falmouth and is a specialist in British portraits, 19th-20th century British landscapes and oil sketches on paper and board.

She has been a lecturer for The Arts Society since 2003 and is an experienced international speaker having lectured independently at major public and gallery venues across the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand.