'Extraordinary story' of Leonardo portrait to Unicorn

Rights - NonFiction Monday, 18 March 2019

Leonardo da Vinci and the Book of Doom is by arts journalist Simon Hewitt

Unicorn has signed world rights to Leonardo da Vinci and the Book of Doom by Simon Hewitt, for publication in September.

Hewitt's book is an investigation into the art and politics of Renaissance Milan, and billed as "an academic detective story sketched out with erudition and journalistic panache". Hewitt claims to have debunked art forger Shaun Greenhalgh's boast to have painted the portrait of a young girl otherwise attributed to Leonardo, showing that Leonardo was on intimate terms with the sitter - Bianca Forza - and with her husband.

Unicorn group chairman Lord Strathcarron said: "I first came across Simon Hewitt's extraordinary story of the truth behind Leonardo's portrait in the Antiques Trade Gazette. I found a way to contact him and was convinced by the academic research behind the discovery and engaged by the way he had written the story. Unicorn quickly acquired the title and I'm really delighted we have done so."

Hewitt said: "Much of the evidence in this art-historical thriller takes the form of sophisticated Renaissance paintings and manuscript illuminations. I have every confidence that Unicorn's high-quality production standards will do them justice."

Hewitt has reported on art and culture for publications including Art + Auction, the Art Newspaper and the Huffington Post. He has also written about wine and classical music, and he has captained and coached the French cricket team. He is based in Switzerland.

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