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October 23, 2017updated 30 Oct 2017 10:42am

PHILIP MOULD

By Rasika Sittamparam

From his three-storey gallery in Pall Mall, at the original epicentre of London’s art scene going back 300 years, art sleuth Philip Mould lets Spear’s in on his heart’s desire: a flower painting by Cedric Morris, a plants man who taught Lucian Freud to paint. ‘I’m a great enthusiast of wild flowers and it’s great to have a fusion of the artistic and natural,’ says Mould, who is also swooning over a ‘drop-dead beautiful Augustus John of a poetic looking Welsh girl reclining in a valley overlooking the sea in Wales in 1920’. ‘It’s modern British lyricism,’ he explains.

Mould, who has rediscovered and revived van Dycks and once bought a Gainsborough on eBay for £120, is a noted seller of portrait miniatures and a strong and vocal proponent of Old Masters in an art world swamped by contemporary works. Old Masters continue to hurt, he says, but he’s confident the pendulum is due to swing back any minute. In the meantime, ‘there is always a demand for emotive historical faces of British history – a portrait of Shelley or Churchill, for example’, he says. ‘Those things seem to be utterly immune.’

Another big growth area is the British figurative and abstract painters from 1900 to 1950: ‘You’ve got the quality, the supply, and sophisticated buyers now taking an interest.’ Meanwhile, Mould has just finished filming the sixth series of his lost-masterpiece hunt Fake or Fortune?, which is now watched in 14 countries.

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