Great Train Robber’s artwork goes on sale in village

Painting by Great Train Robber Charlie Wilson SUS-180928-151955001
Painting by Great Train Robber Charlie Wilson SUS-180928-151955001

Four oil paintings by Great Train Robber Charlie Wilson are being put up for sale in Wisborough Green later this month.

The paintings were created after Charlie joined a painting class in the maximum security wing of Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight.

Painting by Great Train Robber Charlie Wilson SUS-180928-151935001

Painting by Great Train Robber Charlie Wilson SUS-180928-151935001

They will go under the hammer at Bellmans Auctioneers in Wisborough Green on October 9.

Charlie’s artistic skills were honed at Parkhurst after he was sent there for his part as ‘treasurer’ in the Great Train Robbery in Buckinghamshire in 1963.

Bellmans are to auction just a few of a large number of paintings Charlie created while he was in jail as part of an ‘ephemera’ sale.

A spokesman for Bellmans said: “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 said: “They are not bad at all are they?” to which Charlie’s granddaughter replied: “Well he had a lot of time to practice.”

The paintings are expected to sell for around £100 each.

The Great Train Robbery took place in the early hours of August 8 1963 when the gang stopped a Royal Mail train at 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 and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Four months into his sentence he arranged a three-man gang to break into the prison and break him out. Charlie and his family spent Christmas 1964 in Acapulco with fellow train robbers Bruce Reynolds and Buster Edwards who were still ‘on the run’.

Charlie settled in Canada with his family finally being re-captured there in 1968. He was later released in 1978, one of the last of the Great Train Robbers to leave prison.