2011: Malicious Damage

In 2011 Islington Heritage curated Malicious Damage, an exhibition on the life and crimes of Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell in Islington. Joe Orton, a rising playwright, and his lover, Kenneth Halliwell, a writer and collage artist, were infamously imprisoned for defacing a large number of public library books.

Poster advertising the Malicious Damage exhibition in 2011. Credit: Islington Museum | Islington Local History Centre

Between 14 October 2011 and 21 January 2012 the collection of book covers defaced by Orton and Halliwell held by the Islington Local History Centre went on display at the Islington Museum. The exhibition accompanying the book covers explores the the lives of both Orton and Halliwell from their early years, through their arrest and to their terrible and gruesome end.

Researched and written by Mark Aston
Islington Local History Centre | Islington Museum
October 2011


Islington Heritage Services wish to thank the following for their support and generosity for this exhibition:

Mrs. Leonie Orton Barnett/The Joe Orton Estate, Islington Local History Centre, Leicester University Special Collections, A & C Black Publishers Ltd, British Broadcasting Corporation, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, Islington Gazette, Joe Orton Online, John Haynes/Lebrecht Music & Arts, Lewis Morley Archive / National Portrait Gallery, London, Orion Books, Paul Burton, Random House Group Limited, Shivali Patel and The National Archives

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