Suffolk/Norfolk: Reggie Kray’s jail bird set to go under the hammer

The falcon painting to be auctioned by Lockdales
Credit pics: Daniel Page

The falcon painting to be auctioned by Lockdales Credit pics: Daniel Page - Credit: Contributed

Notorious gangster Reggie Kray is better known as one half of the twins who ruled the East End of London with a rod of iron.

Reggie Kray

Reggie Kray - Credit: PA

He and his brother Ronnie were feared and revered in equal measure even after they were put behind bars for life.

However, Reggie’s softer side will be on display when a signed oil painting he did while behind bars in Wayland prison, Thetford, comes up for auction at Lockdales in Barrack Square, Martlesham Heath, on October 17.

While no one would ever claim the fruits of his labour as an artist while inside will see his name alongside the greats, collectors of what is known is some circles as “murderabilia” may well take a keen interest in Reggie’s painting of a falcon.

His art rarely comes up for sale and some pieces purported to have been produced by him have led to embarrassment when auction houses discovered they were fakes.

However, Lockdales believe this one to be authentic as it comes with a handwritten request by the gangster for it and others to be allowed out of the prison. The application is signed by the jail’s governor. Furthermore on the back is a sticker bearing the jail’s stamp and Reggie’s signature.

Lockdales auction manager James Sadler said: “You hear conflicting research about his paintings. Some people say he didn’t produce lots and lots of artwork, but lots appear on the market, hence other auctioneers have had problems as his style is easy to replicate.

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“The painting will attract interest from people who like the macabre to people looking for an investment for the future or to a collector looking for something out of the ordinary – and this is definitely out of the ordinary.

“The name Kray is synonymous with gangland history.”

The guide price for the painting which is signed and dated 1997 is £150 to £250.

The Krays were brought up in Suffolk as evacuees during the Second World War for two years at East House in Hadleigh.

They later bought what was described as a “country mansion” in Bildeston for £11,000.

In 1969 they were each jailed for life at the Old Bailey for separate gangland murders with a recommendation they serve at least 30 years.

Ronnie Kray died in the spring of 1995 in a Berkshire hospital where he had been taken from Broadmoor

Reggie died in Nowich in October, 2000, after losing a battle with cancer. He had been freed from jail on August 26 because of his deteriorating health