‘Britain’s No.1 Art Forger’ – Max Brandrett

Max Brandrett is a colourful Brighton character who was born in Buckingham Road and spent his childhood in Dr Barnardo’s and foster homes. He used to copy cartoons in crayon and taught himself to paint in watercolours and oils. Aged fifteen, he ran away to join the circus and became an elephant handler and scenic artist. After drawing caricatures at holiday camps, he went to London and sold his pictures and busked in Portobello Road. He later turned his talents to the lucrative business of forging paintings, fooling the art world and living the high life. However, life for Max was always up and down – but always exciting! He mixed with gangsters, celebrities and members of the aristocracy, and donated many of his legitimate works to raise tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

Max’s biography came about when the son of his friend Chris Ellison, the Brighton-based actor best known for playing D.I. Burnside on top cop show “The Bill”, produced a short documentary film for Vice TV about Max and wanted to develop it into a full-blown movie. Chris suggested that “The Bill” scriptwriter Tony Valentine would be the perfect choice to help develop the project, and as the biopic progressed, Max mooted the idea of a biography. During lockdown, Max spent hours on the phone recounting tales of his life to Tony, who then turned them into a book. “BRITAIN’S No1 ART FORGER – THE LIFE OF A CHEEKY FAKER” is available on Amazon.

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