It said that the work had come from the ceiling of St George’s Hall, at Windsor Castle.There are high-tech means avail¬able to help us identify fakes, but the naked eye should not be discounted.

Perhaps they have been ‘overpainted’, or suffered from centuries of dirt.

Then there are the ‘improvers’ who have added to, and amended, original works.

It’s actually very difficult to fake age in paintings.

It is harder to detect in the case of sculptures and ceramics. Such fakes can be detected by looking at the materials.

And, of course, their values transform accordingly.

There are many ways in which the truth can be hidden.

Though they might seem like afterthoughts, picture frames can be works of art unto themselves.

In fact, the earliest frames were often integral parts of a piece.

One example is a 17th Century portrait I found at a country auction. The drapery over the right breast didn’t match the dress. The fully exposed breast indicated that the woman was as close to the Monarchy as could be: specifically, to Charles II.

When I first saw it, I just thought the subject was a strikingly beautiful woman in a low-cut dress, her left breast half-exposed. A revealed breast, as Nell Gwynn proved in other portraits, was unwritten code for a Royal mistress.

There could be anything written there and you’ll never know unless you have a look.