Returnees warned they are seen as soft targets following multiple killings of UK expats
Jamaican expats who retire there after decades in the UK face an extreme risk of murder, a former police chief on the Caribbean island has said, as official figures revealed that at least 85 Britons, Americans and Canadians have been killed in the country since 2012.
Senior police figures told the Guardian that returning residents were seen as soft targets by criminals and needed much more protection following the murders of three British retirees on the island in as many months.
Gayle and Charlie Anderson, aged 71 and 74, had only recently retired to Jamaica when they were fatally stabbed and their bodies burned following a firebomb attack at their dream home in Mount Pleasant, in the islands Portland parish, last Saturday.
The double murder followed the killing in April of 63-year-old Birmingham charity worker, Delroy Walker, incidents that have put renewed focus on the disturbing pattern of elderly returnees being violently targeted by Jamaican criminals.
Percival Latouche, the president of the Jamaica association for the resettlement of returning residents, said he had counted more than 200 British, American and Canadian expats murdered in the country since 2000 and had attended 165 funerals in that time.
It is not known how many of the Britons murdered were of the Windrush generation but a large proportion of those targeted were pensioners, like Charlie Anderson, who left Jamaica as a child and returned to the Caribbean to retire after decades working in the UK.
The long read: Forgeries have got so good and so costly that Sothebys has brought in its own in-house fraud-busting expert
The unravelling of a string of shocking old master forgeries began in the winter of 2015, when French police appeared at a gallery in Aix-en-Provence and seized a painting from display. Venus, by the German Renaissance master Lucas Cranach the Elder, to describe the work more fully: oil on oak, 38cm by 25cm, and dated to 1531. Purchased in 2013 by the Prince of Liechtenstein for about 6m, Venus was the inescapable star of the exhibition of works from his collection; she glowed on the cover of the catalogue. But an anonymous tip to the police suggested she was, in fact, a modern fake so they scooped her up and took her away.
The painting had been placed in the market by Giuliano Ruffini, a French collector, and its seizure hoisted the first flag of concern about a wave of impeccable fakes. Ruffini has sold at least 25 works, their sale values totalling about 179m, and doubts now shadow every one of these paintings. The authenticity of four, in particular, including the Cranach, has been contested; the art historian Bendor Grosvenor said they may turn out to be the best old master fakes the world has ever seen. Ruffini, who remains the subject of a French police investigation, has denied presenting these paintings as old masters at all. To the Art Newspaper, he protested: I am a collector, not an expert.
The quality of these paintings their faithful duplicity jolted the market. The sums of money at stake in art, never paltry to begin with, have grown monstrous. Thirty years ago, the highest auction price for a painting was $10.4m, paid by the J Paul Getty Museum for Andrea Mantegnas Adoration of the Magi in 1985. In contrast, while the $450m paid for Leonardo da Vincis Salvator Mundi in 2017 counts as an outlier, abstract expressionists and impressionists frequently come, in auctions or private deals, with nine-figure price tags.
In lockstep, the incentive to be a proficient forger has soared; a single, expertly executed old master knockoff can finance a long, comfortable retirement. The technologies available to abet the aspiring forger have also improved. Naturally, then, the frauds are getting better, touching off a crisis of authentication for the institutions of the art world: the museums and galleries and auction houses and experts who are expected to know the real thing from its imitation.
What was most unnerving about the alleged fakes sold by Ruffini was how many people they fooled. The National Gallery in London displayed a small oil painting thought to be by the 16th-century artist Orazio Gentileschi a battle-weary David, painted on an electric-blue slice of lapis lazuli; the work is now suspect. A portrait of a nobleman against a muddy background was sold by Sothebys in 2011, to a private collector, as a Frans Hals; the buyer paid 8.5m. Sothebys also sold an oil named Saint Jerome, attributed to the 16th-century artist Parmigianino, in a 2012 auction, for $842,500. With care, the catalogue only ventured that the work was from the circle of Parmigianino an idiom to convey that it was painted by an artist influenced by, and perhaps a pupil of, Parmigianino. But the entry also cited several experts who believed it was by Parmigianino himself.
The works were full of striking, scrupulous detail. On Jeromes arm, for example, dozens of faint horizontal cracks have appeared; every so often, a clean, vertical split intersects them. In French canvases from the 18th century, cracks in paint tend to develop like spider webs; in Flemish panels, like tree bark. In Italian paintings of the Renaissance, the patterns resemble rows of untidy brickwork. On the Saint Jerome, the cracks match perfectly. Prof David Ekserdjian, one of the few art historians who doubted that the painting was a Parmigianino, said he just didnt feel the prickle of recognition that scholars claim as their gift: the intimacy with an artist that they liken to our ability to spot a friend in a crowd. But I have to be frank, I didnt look at it and say: Oh, thats a forgery.
When Sothebys sells an artwork, it offers a five-year guarantee of refund if the object proves to be a counterfeit a modern forgery intended to deceive, as its terms specify. In 2016, after uncertainty crackled over the Hals and the Parmigianino, the auction-house sent them to Orion Analytical, a conservation science lab in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Orion was run, and staffed almost solely by, James Martin, who has loaned his forensic skills to the FBI for many art forgery investigations. Within days, Martin had an answer for Sothebys: both the Hals and the Parmigianino were fakes.
The Hals contained synthetic pigments that the artist, in the 17th century, could not have used. In Saint Jerome, similarly, Martin found phthalocyanine green, a pigment first synthesised four centuries after Parmigianino died. It showed up consistently across 21 paint samples from various parts of the painting a bit like taking the pulse of a corpse 21 times, Martin told the New York Times last year. Sothebys refunded both buyers, and filed suits against the sellers, demanding they return their proceeds from the sales.
In December 2016, in a signal of how attribution scandals have spooked the market, Sothebys took the unprecedented step of buying Orion Analytical, becoming the first auctioneer to have an in-house conservation and analysis unit. The company had seen enough disputes over attribution to mar its bottom line, its CEO, Tad Smith, said: If you looked at earnings reports from a year or two ago, youd see little blips here and there. These were expenses coming from settlements not a slew, the number was small and statistically insignificant, but theyre expensive. The cost of insurance that covers such settlements was also rising. With Martin in the building, the pictures and other objects moving through Sothebys now have a much higher chance of being checked, Smith said. Last year, Martin analysed more than $100m worth of artworks before they went under the hammer or into private sales. Sothebys employs him, in part, as a conservator, so he ministers to the health of the paintings and sculptures that pass through. But over the past two decades, Martin has also become the art worlds foremost forensic art detective. He has worked so many forgery cases with such success that he also serves Sothebys as a line of fortification against the swells of duff art lapping into the market.
The first major painting sold by Sothebys was also a Hals a real one: Man in Black, a half-length portrait of a hatted gent. Until 1913, Sothebys had dealt in books for a century or thereabouts; art made up only a wan side business. In that year, though, a Sothebys partner found a Hals consigned to the firm, and rather than forwarding it to Christies, as was often the practice, decided to auction it. After a spirited contest of bids, Man in Black sold for 9,000 a 26% rate of return per annum since Christies had last auctioned the work, in 1885, for around 5. It was the first signal, for Sothebys, that there was profit to be mined from paintings. Last year, it sold $5.5bn worth of art, jewellery and real estate.
Willows death marks first time the monarch has not owned a corgi since the second world war
The Queens last remaining corgi has died, it has been reported. Willow, who was almost 15, was put down after suffering from cancer, making it the first time the monarch has not owned a corgi since the end of the second world war.
Willow was the 14th generation descended from Susan, a corgi gifted to the then Princess Elizabeth on her 18th birthday in 1944. The Queen has owned more than 30 dogs of the breed during her reign.
She still has two dogs, Vulcan and Candy, which are informally known as dorgis a cross-breed between a dachshund and a corgi introduced to the royal household when Princess Margarets dachshund Pipkin mated with one of the Queens dogs.
Vulcan and Candy appeared alongside Willow on the front cover of Vanity Fair in 2016, shot by Annie Leibovitz to celebrate the Queens 90th birthday.
Palace aides predict a happy church wedding at St Georges Chapel for prince, 33, and American TV star, 36
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to marry at St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle next May and will go on their first public walkabout on Friday in Nottingham, the palace has announced.
The couple are planning to involve members of the public in the proceedings in some form yet to be determined.
It will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the character of the bride and groom, said their spokesman.
Markle, 36, who is American, will also become a British citizen and will be baptised and confirmed into the Church of England before the wedding, Kensington Palace announced.
And it said the royal family would pay for the wedding, including the church service, the music, the flowers and the reception.
Wider security costs, policing and public order arrangements will be covered by the public purse, however. The palace declined to comment on whether the brides parents would contribute.
The service is expected to draw a star-studded congregation. Markles friends include the tennis star Serena Williams and the Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh.
The chapel usually holds about 800 guests compared with the 2,000 capacity of Westminster Abbey, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge married in 2011.
The engaged couples spokesman said: Harry and Meghan Markle are extremely grateful for the warm public response following yesterdays announcement of their engagement. In a happy moment in their lives, it means a great deal to them that so many people throughout the UK, the Commonwealth, and around the world are celebrating with them.
The couple of course want the day to be a special, celebratory moment for their friends and family. They also want the day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too and are currently working through ideas for how this might be achieved.
The UK prime minister, Theresa May, while on a flight to Jordan to start of her three-day visit to the Middle East, was asked by reporters whether the nation deserved a bank holiday for the royal wedding.
May did not directly respond, but equally did not talk up the idea. However, she did seem enamoured of the happy couple. You talk about cheering people up, she said. Seeing two young people in love, and thats obvious I didnt see all of the BBC interview, I saw some snatches of it, but I think that was obvious.
Whats also obvious was that theyd given a lot of thought to what it means to be a royal couple in todays age. I wish them great happiness for the future, and I think the country is delighted to see this engagement. And collectively, we wish them all the very best.
The last royal wedding at the chapel was for Harrys cousin, Peter Phillips the son of the Princess Royal who married the Canadian Autumn Kelly in 2008. Harrys father, the Prince of Wales, and stepmother, the Duchess of Cornwall, had their televised religious blessing there in 2005, after their civil ceremony down the road in the town hall.
Harry was christened in the chapel in December 1984 when he was three months old, which, according to Church of England rules, means he can also marry there.
After the wedding Markle will also become the fourth patron of the Royal Foundation, the main charitable arm of the Kensington Palace royals the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. It has so far launched initiatives such as the Invictus Games and the Heads Together mental health campaign.
Markles belongings are currently being shipped from Canada to Kensington Palace and she plans to travel back to North America to see friends and family in the months before the wedding.
The palace confirmed that she was leaving behind one of her dogs, Bogart, who is staying with friends in North America. Guy the Beagle is now at Kensington Palace, they announced.
Asked about how she had decided between them, their spokesman said: I cant speculate. Miss Markle is very fond of her dogs and any decision about moving a dog over the ocean will have lots of complexity to it.
Markle divorced her first husband, Trevor Engelson, a film producer, in 2013. Her parents are Thomas Markle, an award-winning TV lighting designer, and Doria Ragland, a yoga instructor who lives in Los Angeles.
Markle was educated at a Catholic school, but her father is reported to be a member of the Episcopal Church of the United States, which is part of the Anglican communion. Her mother is reported to be of the Protestant faith.
In a TV interview on Monday Markle described the engagement as a transition out of my career, but into the role. She said she wanted to focus more energy on the causes that she had already championed. Markle has been an ambassador for UN Women and a global ambassador for World Vision, including driving a clean water campaign in Rwanda. She will withdraw from those roles.
She wants to start a clean slate getting to know this country and travelling round the Commonwealth, their spokesman said.
Once you have access or a voice that people are going to listen to, with that comes a lot of responsibility, which I take seriously, she said. I think in these beginning few months and now being boots on the ground in the UK, Im excited to just really get to know more about the different communities here, smaller organisations who are working on the same causes that Ive always been passionate about.
On their visit to Nottingham they will visit the Nottingham Contemporary art gallery for the Terrence Higgins Trust World Aids Day charity fair, where they will meet people including those living with HIV. Markles first taste of the day job of a royal will also include a visit to the Nottingham academy to meet schoolchildren and youngsters who attend a Friday night youth club.