The real Peaky Blinders brought to life

The faces of Birmingham’s nineteenth century underworld will be revealed in paintings by local artist, Jon Jones, who – with access to the West Midlands Police archive – has created 14 portraits of the city’s real Peaky Blinders.

Castle Fine Art, ICC will be showcasing these portraits on Saturday 13th December from 12-5pm, in a Victorian themed day with beer kegs and mini pies on offer as well as authentic decorations and props on loan from the Black Country Living Museum. The gallery will also be running a best dressed male competition as a nod to the impeccably stylish outfits the criminals wore.

Birmingham born Jones, who studied at Bournville College of Art, paints in a muted palette, often capturing unflattering, but very truthful faces of his subjects. Evocative, the people stare out of his paintings unguarded to challenge the viewer, and with this frank and unreserved style, Jon Jones is a perfect candidate to bring the gangsters to life, as Dave Cross, Keeper of the West Midlands Police Musuem says:

Who better than a local man to bring our city’s history to life? Artwork has such power to transmit emotion and personality and Jones has done a fantastic job in allowing people to connect and get an insight into the darker characters of Birmingham’s past. The paintings manage to bring these people to life so we get a real flavour for who they were. The high quality of the acting by Cillian Murphy and the cast has brought the series to the forefront of discussion, but we’re going a step further and uncovering the actual men and women who were the inspiration for the show.

Beth McCarthy, Castle Fine Art, ICC’s Gallery Manger is looking forward to the event:

We’re so excited to be working with Jon Jones and unveiling his artwork which shines a light on such an interesting part of Birmingham’s history. Although Jon is a young man, he approaches portrait painting with a maturity and sensitivity beyond his years that evokes the greatest portrait painter of all time, Rembrandt. There is a touch of genius at work in these portraits that transcends the subjects depicted. The show has attracted interest from all over the world and the TV series has been syndicated to the U.S.

As for Jon, it’s been a great experience:

Learning about a whole group of people has been fascinating and painting them up close really gave me a flavour for them as people. Expressions give portraits a lot of life and the Peaky Blinders gave me a lot to work with as their faces were full of attitude.

The Peaky Blinders exhibition is at Castle Fine Art, ICC, from 12-5pm on Saturday 13th December until Tuesday 23rd December.

Paintings are available to buy now. For further information about the Peaky Blinders exhibition, please contact Castle Fine Art, ICC, on 0121 248 8484, or for more information visit www.castlefineart.com

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