LARRY (LAURENCE) RUSHTON : BANK ROBBER, JAILBREAKER & MASTER OF THE ARTS
Burnley 1944, a teenage Rushton starts his first job in the local rope factory. By lunchtime he is sacked for assaulting the foreman and turns to crime in order to take a weekly wage home to his then oblivious parents.
That incident marked the start of a 30-year criminal career: Robbery with Violence; Bank Robbery; Conspiracy charges and resultant prison sentences, earning him the nickname ‘Lash-em-Larry’.
During those sentences Larry escaped from the Victorian Fortress that is Armley, Leeds, within hours of his arrival and later from Dartmoor in Exeter. The staff at Armley were so perplexed by his disappearance, they began to search the prison a second time in disbelief.
The next chapter in Larry’s restless life was an unexpected one. Whilst in solitary confinement he began to paint on the door and walls of his cell with the black wax they used on the prison mail bags. The governor saw promise and told him that he should develop his talent as it might be his only chance of freedom.
By 1975 Rushton was holding sell out exhibitions and his art was in demand. He showed a surprising level of skill for a self trained artist with an unrivaled attention to detail. Amongst some of his renowned works of art are portrayals of clowns, the most famous being ‘The Loser’ which was painted whilst in Hull prison. Eventually he was given the honour of a high profile commission in the Middle East that would see the value of his work soar.