Birmingham & Black Country

In pictures: 'Real' Peaky Blinders sourced from police mugshots

Thomas Shelby -Based on the character portrayed by Cillian Murphy in BBC’s ‘The Peaky Blinders’ Image copyright Copyright Washington Green 2014
Image caption The West Midlands Police archive says the BBC series, which stars Cillian Murphy, has brought the historical gang to "the forefront of discussion"

The "real" faces of Birmingham's Peaky Blinders have been revealed in a new exhibition.

The portraits, based on mugshots in West Midlands Police's archive, were painted by Birmingham artist Jon Jones.

Mr Jones said he had found the experience of painting the early 20th Century Birmingham gangsters, whose story was made famous in the BBC drama, "fascinating".

The paintings will be on display at the International Convention Centre (ICC).

Image copyright Copyright Washington Green 2014
Image caption Each portrait will include a history of the criminal it features, such as John Peplow, who was sentenced to four months for stealing
Image copyright Copyright Washington Green 2014
Image caption Phoebe Knight was sentenced for murder
Image copyright Copyright Washington Green 2014
Image caption According to police archivists, the exhibition uncovers "the actual men and women who were the inspiration" for the Peaky Blinders show

Dave Cross, keeper of the West Midlands Police Museum which keeps the original pictures, said the BBC series had brought the gang's history to the "forefront of discussion".

The series stars Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby, the leader of a notorious gang of ne'er-do-wells.

Mr Cross said the exhibition managed to uncover "the actual men and women who were the inspiration for the show".

"The paintings manage to bring these people to life," he said.

Image copyright Copyright Washington Green 2014
Image caption Matthew Peudgart was sentenced to nine months for house breaking
Image copyright Copyright Washington Green 2014
Image caption Edward Ellis was sentenced to six months for shop breaking

"Painting them up close really gave me a flavour for them as people," added Mr Jones.

"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 exhibition will run at at Castle Fine Art, in the ICC, from 13 December until 23 December.

More on this story