Ronnie Kray Paintings Go Under The Hammer

PUBLISHED: 09:12 26 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:38 04 May 2010

the painting by Ronnie Kray

the painting by Ronnie Kray

PAINTINGS by notorious East End gangster Ronnie Kray are to go under an Ely auctioneer s hammer on Saturday. The child-like landscapes, painted in oils, were traded with a fellow prisoner while Kray was in Parkhurst maximum security prison, Isle of Wight

PAINTINGS by notorious East End gangster Ronnie Kray are to go under an Ely auctioneer's hammer on Saturday.

The child-like landscapes, painted in oils, were traded with a fellow prisoner while Kray was in Parkhurst maximum security prison, Isle of Wight in the late 1970s.

Ely auctioneer David Palmer, who is due to auction the paintings at Eriswell Hall Barns near Lakenheath, said: "The family putting them up for auction acquired the paintings through an uncle who was in Parkhurst at the same time as Kray. There was a lot of bartering going on - God knows what the uncle swapped for them. They're not worth a contract killing."

Mr Palmer, added that the appearance of the Kray paintings at auction demonstrated the Krays' acceptance into the realms of folklore.

"There was a time when they were perceived as violent criminals, but my father, who was training to be a surgeon in East London, worked at the hospital opposite the Blind Beggar Pub. The Krays used to buy all the doctors rounds of drinks or put money behind the bar to pay for their tab. Some people would say they were being generous, but at the time my dad asked himself what they would want in return."

Dave Baggett of Eriswell Barns said the paintings had a guide price of £1,000-£1,500.

"This is people's chance to own a little bit of criminal history," he told the Ely Standard. "Ronnie traded these for cigarettes and against gambling debts, but for a long time these paintings had been languishing in a family's attic. They were painted just as he was starting out, so they are quite child-like."

Ronnie Kray and his twin Reggie were incarcerated for the murders of Jack The Hat McVitie and George Cornell in 1969. When Ronnie painted the landscapes he had been in Parkhurst for less than two years - and he was on the verge of being joined by Reggie.

Faced with deteriorating mental health, Ronnie was moved to Broadmoor, Britain's secure hospital for the criminally insane, after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He continued to paint - and eight tranquil landscapes from his Broadmoor period fetched £16,500 at a Lincoln auction.

Auctioneers are hoping to capitalise both on the Krays' history and the recent fashion for "outsider art" - naïve paintings created by people who have never been to art school. Outsider artists often have some form of mental health issue.

INFO: The paintings will be auctioned at Eriswell Hall Barns, on the B1112 between Eriswell and Lakenheath from noon on Saturday, November 29.

Pic cap: the two paintings crafted by Ronnie Kray

Photos: SUPPLIED.

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