New book prints early collage art of tragic Islington playwright Joe Orton

Malicous Damage

Malicous Damage - Credit: Archant

A new book detailing the anarchic art of gifted playwright Joe Orton and his troubled, murderous lover Keith Halliwell has been released.

Malicious Damage prints a collection of the collages the pair created by defacing library books borrowed from Islington Central Library, in Fieldway Crescent, Highbury.

The artists, who lived together in Noel Road, Islington, were eventually charged with larceny, malicious and willful damage and jailed for six months.

Their turbulent relationship ended in tragedy when the jealous Halliwell bludgeoned Orton to death at their home before committing suicide.

Cllr Janet Burgess, Islington Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing said: “We are pleased to announce that this new book on the anarchic exploits of Orton and Halliwell will shortly be available for loan from Islington libraries.

“The Council’s Local History Centre holds the surviving collection of the duo’s vandalised library book jackets from the late-1950s and early-1960s and we were honoured to have worked with the author and publisher of ‘Malicious Damage’.

“Five decades on, the couple’s notoriety is part of Islington’s rich and colourful history.”

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Malicious Damage is the first book by British writer and artist Ilsa Colsell and features a foreword by Leonie Orton Barnett, Mr Orton’s youngest sister.”