False Impression | Page 10 of 219

Author: Jeffrey Archer | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 13034 Views | Add a Review

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Bandaged Ear was the ultimate high. Although the maestro painted thirty-five self taiyjn portraits during his lifetime, he attempted only two after cutting off his left ear. What made this particular work so desirable for any serious collector was that the other one was on display at the Courtauld Institute in London.

Anna was becoming more and more anxious about just how far Fenston would be willing to go in order to possess the only other example.

Anna spent a pleasant ten days at Wentworth Hall cataloguing and valuing the family’s collection. When she returned to New York, she advised the board – mainly made up of Fenston’s cronies or politicians who were only too happy to accept a handout – that should a sale ever prove necessary, the assets would more than cover the bank’s loan of thirty million dollars.

Although Anna had no interest in Victoria Wentworth’s reasons for needing such a large sum of money, she often heard Victoria speak of the sadness of ‘dear Papa’s’

premature death, the retirement of their trusted estates manager and the iniquity of 40 per cent death duties during her stay at Wentworth Hall. ‘If only Arabella had been born a few moments earlier...’ was one of Victoria’s favourite mantras.

Once she was back in New York, Anna could recall every painting and sculpture in Victoria’s collection without having to refer to any paperwork. The one gift that set her apart from her contemporaries at Penn, and her colleagues at Sotheby’s, was a photographic memory. Once Anna had seen a painting, she would never forget the image, its provenance or its location. Every Sunday she would idly put her skill to the test, by visiting a new gallery, a room at the Met, or simply studying the latest catalogue raisonne\

On returning to her apartment, she would write down the name of every painting she had seen, before checking it against the different catalogues. Since leaving university, Anna had added the Louvre, the Prado and the Uffizi, as well as the National Gallery of Washington, the Phillips Collection and the Getty Museum, to her memory bank. Thirty-seven private collections and countless catalogues were also stored in the database of her brain, an asset Fenston had proved willing to pay over the odds for.

Anna’s responsibility did not go beyond valuing the collections of potential clients and then submitting written reports for the board’s consideration. She never became involved in the drawing up of any contract. That was exclusively in the hands of the bank’s in-house lawyer, Karl Leapman. However, Victoria did let slip on one occasion that the bank was charging her 16 per cent compound interest.

Anna had quickly become aware that debt, naivety and a lack of any financial expertise were the ingredients on which Fenston Finance thrived. This was a bank that seemed to relish its customers’ inability to repay their debts.

Anna lengthened her stride as

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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