Cold case - evidence sought. In 1979 a crime was committed in the dock of Court no. 1 at the Old Bailey, in front of the judge.
The perpetrator was Tom Keating, 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 Lord
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
It is illegal to draw in courts below the Supreme Court. When I tell
people this, they visualise all those pastel sketches and contradict me. But these have to be drawn from memory. Please see
section 41, Criminal Justice Act 1925. The penalty for drawing in a
court or its ill-defined precincts is a fine and a criminal record.
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