Prison art drawn by notorious inmate Charles Bronson found in Hampstead
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images
Charles Bronson, one of Britain’s most notorious prison inmates, is unlikely to see freedom anytime soon but that hasn’t stopped artwork drawn in his prison cell reaching Hampstead.
A collection of postcard sketches by Bronson, now known as Charles Salvador in homage to surrealist painter Salvador Dali, were found buried beneath canvases and scraps of paper at Zebra One Gallery, in Perrin’s Court, last week.
The discovery coincides with the sale of 200 of the convict’s works for more than £30,000 at an auction in Leicestershire recently.
Zebra One Gallery owner Gabrielle du Plooy, who found the postcards gathering dust in a drawer, has now put them up for sale and believes there will be high demand from collectors.
“They are ridiculous but you can certainly see the influence of Salvador Dali,” said Ms du Plooy. “I was thinking about giving any money I get to the families of Bronson’s victims.”
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Salvador, 61, is currently serving a life sentence in Full Sutton prison in York, having spent 36 of the last 40 years in solitary confinement for attacks on inmates and prison staff.
He was originally jailed for seven years in 1974 for robbery and has since gained public notoriety for his violence in prison, including instigating numerous hostage incidents.
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In 2008, Hollywood star Tom Hardy portrayed Salvador in a biopic about the convict, titled Bronson.
The postcards discovered by Ms du Plooy are annotated with the addresses of the prisons where it is presumed the sketches were drawn, including “Life. HMP Full Sutton” and “CSC Unit HMP Woodhill” which refers to the Close Supervision Centre at Woodhill prison in Milton Keynes.
Each of the postcards also bear Bronson’s prison number “1314” along with his signature and a note reading “A Bronson Creation”.
Ms du Plooy said her father, the gallery’s former owner, acquired the postcards from Bedlam Bar, in Heath Street, which is now closed.
“It was a very dark and dingy bar with loads of mad artwork on the walls,” she said. “You walked in and it was bedlam - there were chains and skulls.
“We were doing all their framing for them and we were given these postcards.”
It is unknown how art drawn by one of Britain’s most closely-guarded men first found its way to Hampstead.