Last week we introduced you to the strange case of Robert Pattinson, the English actor who is probably best known for his role as the bespectacled vampire, “Robert.” We described how he had become the victim of what appeared to be a very elaborate hoax, in which an Italian man named F. G. Oliveira had used a stolen credit card to book millions of dollars’ worth of flight and hotel rooms around the world. These were not publicity stunts, but rather the elaborate ruse of an unscrupulous stranger who had managed to convince the unsuspecting Pattinson that he was in fact acting as the legitimate owner of the credit card and the lavish lifestyle it enabled him to enjoy.
Now it’s time to take a step back and address the question on everyone’s lips: How could the same name, of a different person, be associated with such disparate events? As with many other celebrities’ names, it turns out that there is more than one person with the surname Pattinson. In fact, there are four others, all with the same first name as the Hollywood star.
If you haven’t heard of Michael Pattinson, then it’s probably time you should have. He’s the English singer-songwriter and activist who has released a steady stream of indie soulful lovelies over the past few years. Most of his music is deeply personal and often deals with themes of betrayal and unrequited love. In 2014, he released his debut album, ‘Michael,’ which spent two weeks at Number One on the UK Albums Chart. Since then, he has released the singles “Breathe” and “A Proper Lady,” as well as toured the UK playing shows in small venues and festivals. He has also collaborated with the likes of MIA and Katy Perry.
The Film Maker
Pattinson’s older brother, Richard, is an award-winning English movie director best known for the 2006 documentary, ‘The English Game.’ Since then, he has directed several other documentaries, including the highly acclaimed ‘UCL Elite Squad – The Real Football League,’ which chronicled the 2012 London Olympics’ greatest upset: the defeat of England’s world-class football team, Manchester United, by a university squad from Chile. In 2019, he reunited with his UCL Squad for a thrilling documentary on the team’s thrilling campaign to defend their status as the world’s best, which was released in late September.
The Architectural Designer
We’re not even halfway through and we’ve already met a member of the Pattinson family who is a professional architect. It’s the turn of Peter, who designed the British Museum’s first all-glass building. His father, Michael, designed the magnificent Grade I-listed building, which opened its doors to the public in 2014.
The Industrial Designer
We’re not even halfway through and we’ve already met a member of the Pattinson family who is a professional industrial designer. It’s the turn of Michael, who designed the Cobra motorcycle, which inspired the 1967 film, “The Easy Rider.” Since then, he has worked on many iconic pieces of design, including the Aston Martin Vanquish and VVIP Limos. He has also worked on projects for the Royal Family and the Queen Mother.
The Fashion Designer
It comes as no great surprise that members of the same family have been involved in fashion; after all, the name Pattinson is synonymous with elegance and style. In fact, it was Michael’s grandfather, William, who founded the fashion house, and it was he who named the line after himself: the William Henry Pattinson Fashion House. Perhaps the most famous designer of the brand is the late great Christian Dior, who was the last designer to purchase a piece of art from Michael’s collection. This was an oil on canvas painting titled, “Dior Creation.”
Even if none of the above applies to you, there’s still one more person you should know about. This is the French photographer who took the iconic photo of a young Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall, touring the West End in 1936. The dashing young man in the photo is, in fact, Prince Charles’s great-grandfather, Georges, known as “Boy George” to his adoring fans.
Once again, this raises the question – how could four individuals with the same name as one of the most famous English families of the 20th century end up being associated with such disparate events? Perhaps there’s an answer to this conundrum.
The Possible Explanation
It would seem that there may be a secret explanation behind all this. While investigating the story of the Italian man who had posed as Robert Pattinson, a far more intricate mystery unfolded, which casts a fascinating new light on not just the case of the Italian imposter, but on the entire history of the four Pattinson brothers. As it turns out, Georges belonged to a very wealthy Russian family and had been gifted with considerable property. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, he had to flee the country and ended up in London, where he quickly made a name for himself as a high-profile aristocrat who flaunted his privileged lifestyle in the pages of society magazines.
This is the man who founded the Georges Clothing Company, named after himself. He wasn’t just the founder, but he was also the designer of the company’s signature style: the George Jacket. It is a very famous style, named after the company’s co-founder, and it was worn by John F. Kennedy Jr., among others.
Georges also designed the uniforms for the King’s Horseguards, as well as various pieces of ordnance for the British Ministry of Defence. In later life, Georges became an accomplished artist and was well-known for his portraits of famous people, which included the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Charlie Chaplin. He passed away in 1958, at the age of eighty-one.
While investigating the story behind the Italian imposter, we discovered that a year before he had posed as Pattinson, he had impersonated another famous family – the French Lautrec siblings, the artist Isadora and the writer Baroness Barres de Lauriston, whose family name was changed to Lautrec-Baron upon her marriage to the baron. As it turns out, the Lautrec imposter had travelled to London with a very good reason. He had arrived with a specific task: to find the house where the Lautrec family had once lived. Even if you’ve never heard of them, you may know their work. The Lautrec’s were the pre-eminent 19th-century French poster designers, known for their satirical posters. They were the original artists behind many political billboards and bus advertisements, which are now collector’s items.
The French Lautrec imposter had travelled to London with a specific task: to find the house where the Lautrec family had once lived. Even if you’ve never heard of them, you may know their work. The Lautrec’s were the pre-eminent 19th-century French poster designers, known for their satirical posters. They were the original artists behind many political billboards and bus advertisements, which are now collector’s items. What he had failed to do in four attempts in Italy, the Frenchman managed to achieve in one visit to London: he found the address he was looking for and checked into the Ritz Hotel, where he spent the next four nights, as Robert Pattinson.
Back To The Hoax
When the Italian man, F. G. Oliveira, had posed as Robert Pattinson, he had done so with a very good reason. In a bizarre twist of fate, it was another man, Michael Laine, who uncovered the ruse. Laine was a journalist who had been researching an article on the rich and famous for an American magazine. While trying to track down the identity of the imposter, Laine became convinced that Oliveira was pretending to be Pattinson. How could someone possibly assume the identity of one of the most famous English families? After tracking down the Italian, Laine confronted him with evidence of his lies. While the Italian initially denied everything, he eventually confessed to Laine that he had indeed posed as Pattinson. He had done so for financial gain, having convinced the wealthy businessman, Peter Rice, to pay him large sums of cash in return for using his credit card.
Rice, who had initially been so impressed by Oliveira’s story, agreed to pay him the colossal sum of £150,000 to keep quiet about the scam. So, on July 26th, 2019, after ten weeks in hiding, the Italian imposter returned to his native country, never to be heard of nor seen in England again.