Kray paintings are put up for auction

A COLLECTION of paintings by one of the country's most notorious gangsters is being put up for auction after gathering dust in a Suffolk attic for many years.

Russell Claydon

A COLLECTION of paintings by one of the country's most notorious gangsters is being put up for auction after gathering dust in a Suffolk attic for many years.

Seven paintings by Ronnie Kray are to be sold off by Mander Auctioneers of Clare, near Sudbury, later this month.

The works date back to the early 1970s when Ronnie was imprisoned at HM Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight.


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The paintings were discovered in the attic of a Suffolk house, although it is not been disclosed who is selling the artwork.

The auctioneers said they were a gift from a former fellow inmate of the Krays, known only as Uncle Jimmy.

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It is known the Krays had local connections in Sudbury and owned property in Bildeston, which may have been the inspiration for the cottage featured in some of the works.

It is thought the paintings would have been used to barter with for luxury goods inside the prison, such as tobacco.

James Mander, of Mander Auctioneers, said: “These paintings are part of an important piece of modern social history.

“I am particularly pleased to have these for our next auction, since the opportunity to see this many examples in close proximity enables us to really begin to get a feel for their work, which can be very dark at times.

“Having such good provenance and being fresh to the market is also an important aspect of this small collection.”

He added both Ronnie and Reggie Kray painted throughout their many years in prison and both adopted a naïve and expressive approach to the many landscapes they produced.

The paintings carry various guide prices from £1,500 to £2,200 each and are all in oil on card with signatures and include Ronnie's prisoner details on the back.

Identical twins Ronnie and Reggie were nightclub owners who dominated the crime scene around London's East End in the 1950s and 60s.

They were eventually arrested in May 1968 and both sentenced to life imprisonment in 1969.

Ronnie died in Wexham Park Hospital aged 61 in 1995 while Reggie died in 2000 aged 66.

There will be a viewing for the auction on Friday, July 25, in the Clare auction room from 9am to 8pm and the auction will take place on Saturday, July 26 at 11am. Alternatively the collection can be viewed online at www.manderauctions.co.uk.

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