An artwork atop the wall of a former prison in Reading, England, may be have been created by none other than Banksy, the elusive street artist whose work has attracted a mass following. According to a report by the BBC, a mural that has appeared on the defunct Reading Prison, where Oscar Wilde was incarcerated from 1895 to 1897, is possibly attributable to Banksy, making it one of several works by him to have appeared over the past year.
The work depicts a prisoner scaling the prison’s imposing brick wall with a bed sheet anchored to a typewriter, which may reference Wilde’s composition of the poem “Ballad of Reading Gaol” in exile following his imprisonment. The artist has not yet made a statement regarding the new mural, but experts have already made their cases for the piece as a Banksy original.
Vince John, of the 1loveart gallery in Bristol, told the BBC, “I believe this is an example of Banksy’s street work at its best, being both humorous and politically poignant.”
Paul Gough, vice-chancellor of Arts University Bournemouth, told the publication that the work was likely completed by someone “who knows how to paint and has got a lot of practice at painting up a scaffold in the dead of night.”
The BBC also reports that have residents convened around the mural and taken photos of it, and some have taken its appearance a sign of support for the transformation of the prison into an arts center. The property has been on sale since 2019 and some locals hope that the structure and its history will be preserved.
There has been no shortage of Bansky news of late. Last month, it was revealed that a popular Banksy mural in Nottingham was sold to an English gallery, and another mural in Bristol had the potential to disrupt the sale of a home there.