Watercolourists upset by Archer's artful impression

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The Independent Online

Alongside the peerage, the sporting distinctions, the best-selling novels and the political positions listed under Jeffrey Archer's name in Who's Who, the statement that he is a trustee of the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS) might not seem remarkable.

But for the RWS, the claim has come as a surprise. After the former Tory deputy chairman was jailed for perjury, the society was contacted by the Charity Commission, and told that the law prohibited anyone convicted of a crime of dishonesty from holding a position of trust within the society.

The society's administrators checked and double-checked their records and discovered that Archer's association was limited to having bought the odd picture from its gallery, although he said he had been a trustee from 1989.

Victoria Weir, deputy director of the RWS, said: "I will be asking Who's Who to correct it in the next edition. It could be an innocent error. It may be that he himself misused the word trustee. He has been a supporter. Obviously he will be out of circulation for some time, but if he comes back to us as a buyer we would welcome him."

The RWS is also planning to contact Archer at Belmarsh high-security prison to demand an explanation.

The society, which was established as a rival to the Royal Academy in 1804, has a gallery near the Tate Modern on London's Bankside. Its members and honorary members have included the artists Dame Laura Knight and Elizabeth Blackadder, and Archer is said to have bought several watercolours by affiliated artists .

Archer's entry in Who's Who contains a string of falsehoods. Last year he was forced last year to remove a claim that he was the patron of the Youth Sports Trust, a charity which helps children of all abilities to take part in sport. He also removed a false entry claiming he was the honorary president of a Glasgow University student debating society.