Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Here We Go Again!

Over on LiveAuctioneers, our favorite forgers (Rhyton Galleries) have listed a new crop of fake John R. Neill drawings. But there has finally been a change! These pieces are listed as “John R. Neill (manner of)”, or “John R. Neill (in the style of)”. This is certainly a step in the right direction; past listings included the “manner of” information in the body of the description, but it was not stated outright in the listing title. 

While I’d prefer the pieces not be listed at all, as they are blatant forgery attempts complete with signatures, at least they are now a little less misleading. There also seems to be a new player in the field - Zipriani Galleries, based in Lima, Peru(!). I can only assume this is another outpost of whoever is behind Rhyton, as the drawing offered appears to be done by the same hand on similar paper, and the other offerings from the gallery are dubious at best.

I first became aware of these drawings in 2020. I purchased the first piece I saw offered, in spite of knowing it to be false, as I thought it would be an interesting curiosity. Overall, there have now been 11 examples listed by the gallery - at least, 11 that I’m aware of! The various drawings can be seen below, starting with the current offerings.

The drawing of the smoking man was previously offered but didn’t sell. Unfortunately, that one is still listed simply as “John R. Neill”. The others are new pieces; the Scarecrow drawing is taken from The Scarecrow of Oz, but the original drawing included other characters and was created for the cover of The Oz Toy Book. The drawing of women with pistols was offered by the Neill family several years ago, and the original of the third piece was used in The Bride, Her Wedding Book. This last piece is the one being offered out of Peru. As usual, these have all been given false signatures.

Here we have a drawing from Scarecrow of Oz, a magazine illustration for The Man Who Murdered a Fairy, and an unpublished piece. These drawings show more ambition on the part of the forger - they are considerably more elaborate than the earlier copies of drawings from Wonder City of Oz.

These were the first pieces to pop up - three drawings from Wonder City of Oz, and one from Tik-Tok of Oz. I’ve blogged several times in the past about this problem, as the drawings are good enough to fool an unsuspecting buyer - and they have! I’ll continue to keep an ongoing log of the pieces that turn up.

Be sure to exercise caution if you are considering purchasing a drawing by John R. Neill and have no knowledge of its background!

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