I was the only bidder and won the auction for a fraction of the low estimate. Why would I buy a drawing that I felt was fake? I was fascinated by the idea of an actual Neill forgery, and of the work involved in creating it. I was very curious to see the drawing in person, to get a better sense of how close the artist came to succeeding.
The paper is wrong as well. It’s drawn on a wove paper with a definite texture which I haven’t seen in other drawings from this book. The paper is nicely aged; and the drawing bears a very nice signature. This is in pencil, rather than ink, which is odd. And, with a little looking online, I found the original signature that this is based on - a detail of a drawing recently offered for sale. This in itself is interesting, as it shows that this is a rather recent forgery, within the past two years. The published version of the drawing is not signed.
Finally, the scale of the drawing is a little off. It’s slightly oversized compared to other drawings I have from this book. As far as the idea that this is a preliminary or rejected drawing, at this point in his life I should think Neill could dash off a drawing of this sort without much difficulty or concern!