Paintings by the Great Train Robber Charlie Wilson
Four striking oil paintings by the Great Train Robber, Charles ‘Charlie’ Wilson are to go under the hammer with Bellmans on Tuesday 9 October, 2018.
Time dragged for Charlie whilst serving the remainder of his 30 year prison sentence in the maximum security wing of Parkhurst Prison, Isle of Wight, for his part as 'treasurer' in the Great Train Robbery, Buckinghamshire, August 8, 1963. That was until he joined a painting class, where he took to painting immediately. Bellmans are to auction just a few of the large number of paintings he created during his sentence.
To our surprise the prison allowed him to make his own picture frames, and Charlie seems to have had access to chain or string for hanging his artwork up on his cell walls. During a conversation between our Ephemera specialist Denise Kelly and Charlie’s granddaughter; Denise commented ’They are not bad at all are they?’, Charlie’s granddaughter replied ‘Well he had a lot of time to practice’.......
The oil paintings include: Monastery in the Pyrenees, Ripples in a Lake, Riverside Encampment and Sunset Loch Scene, each with an estimate in the region of £100.
The Great Train Robbery took place in the early hours of 8 August, 1963, when the gang stopped a Royal Mail train at Bridego railway bridge, Ledburn, Buckinghamshire, getting away with £2.6 million, Charlie, ‘the Treasurer’, had the job of giving the rest of the gang their cut of £150,000 each. He was captured quickly, sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court, April 1964 to 30 years and was held at HMP Winson Green. Four months into his sentence he arranged a 3- man gang to break into the prison and break him out. Charlie and his family spent Christmas 1964 in Acapulco with Bruce Reynolds & Buster Edwards, who were still ‘on the run’. Charlie settled in Canada with his family finally being re-captured there on the 24 January, 1968. He was later released in 1978, one of the last of the Great Train Robbers to leave prison.
Viewing 5, 6, 8, 9 October at Bellmans Sussex saleroom in Wisborough Green. Online bidding available via thesaleroom.com.