‘Depressing’ artwork by killer of Islington playwright Orton up for sale

Iris Anderson with an image of the collage

Iris Anderson with an image of the collage - Credit: Archant

A collage created by the man who murdered playwright Joe Orton is to be sold at auction next month.

Kenneth Halliwell Collage

Kenneth Halliwell Collage - Credit: Archant

Orton was just 34 when he was bludgeoned to death by his jealous lover Kenneth Halliwell at their home in Noel Road, Islington, in 1967.

As well as being an actor Halliwell, who committed suicide after the murder but died before his partner, was also an artist and 15 years ago Isa Anderson ended up with one of his collages.

The 70-year-old is selling the one metre high artwork after appearing on BBC TV show Flog It, which agreed to auction the piece on August 20.

Mrs Anderson said: “They got very excited when I showed it to them – they treated me like royalty.

“Even though I had been out in the sun for eight hours they insisted on interviewing me for television.

“There was lots of interest in it and they put a reserve of £100 to a £1,200 on it – although they said it should fetch a lot more.

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“I only want to sell it because I can’t get up the stairs anymore so I have to move to a bungalow. I just want the money to decorate. I’m not greedy.”

Mrs Anderson, who was brought up in Islington but now lives in Ilford, came across the piece when she was picking up second-hand records for her mum’s shop.

“I saw it on the wall and she told me it was by Kenneth Halliwell,” she said.

“I knew who he was from reading the Gazette. I distinctly remember when him and Joe Orton were sent to prison for defacing library books.

“She’d got it from her neighbour who I think was probably gay and in that scene at that time.”

Mrs Anderson picked it up for £100.

She said: “That was 15 years ago and I knew it would go up in value because of the notoriety. There’s is something about it, but it’s just so depressing. Eyes staring and staircases that don’t go anywhere – I’ve never had it up on the wall.

“Plus it’s signed and dated 1966, just a few months before the murder.

“I just hope the right people come to the auction”

n The collage will be sold at Stacey’s in Essex on August 20. For more information call 01268 777122.