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Beware of counterfeits

Dror Wahrman: 18th-century fakery, 6 June 2002

The Perreaus and Mrs Rudd: Forgery and Betrayal in 18th-Century London 
by Donna Andrew and Randall McGowen.
California, 346 pp., £24.95, November 2001, 0 520 22062 5
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The Smart: The True Story of Margaret Caroline Rudd and the Unfortunate Perreau Brothers 
by Sarah Bakewell.
Chatto, 321 pp., £17.99, April 2001, 9780701171094
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... The story of the Perreau brothers has all the ingredients of a classic film noir: blackmail, intimidation, seduction, betrayal, mysterious encounters, shady financial transactions, courtroom intrigues, confession, retraction and, above all, an irresistible femme fatale, Mrs Margaret Caroline Rudd. Perhaps an innocent and wronged victim, but more likely a cunning manipulator of everybody around her (particularly men), she alone walks away from a disaster, seemingly of her own making, that leaves everyone else confused, injured or dead ...

Quill, Wax, Knife

Adam Smyth: Collier’s Letter Racks, 18 July 2013

Mr Collier’s Letter Racks: A Tale of Art & Illusion at the Threshold of the Modern Information Age 
by Dror Wahrman.
Oxford, 275 pp., £22.95, November 2012, 978 0 19 973886 1
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... painter Edward Collier (c.1640-1710) and, in turn, his amiable, indefatigable celebrant, Dror Wahrman. The dominant subject of Collier’s paintings is the letter rack, a simple arrangement of three horizontal leather straps, attached to a wall, holding in place a bustling miscellany of textual props: in one typical example there is an ...

A Vast Masquerade

Deborah Cohen: Dr James Barry, 2 March 2017

Dr James Barry: A Woman ahead of Her Time 
by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield.
Oneworld, 479 pp., £16.99, August 2016, 978 1 78074 831 3
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... Empire. The Georgians felt delight and sometimes appalled fascination at what the historian Dror Wahrman has called the ‘protean mutability of identity’. If, as Fielding claimed in 1743, society was ‘a vast Masquerade, where the greatest Part appear disguised’, a stunt such as Barry’s wouldn’t appear particularly subversive. The ...

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