One of street artist Banksy's earliest works, painted on the side of a trailer, has sold at auction in Paris for £445,800. The artwork, Silent Majority, depicting a commando-style raid to install sound equipment for a rave, sold at the auction yesterday.
Silent Majority was painted on the side of a lorry trailer for the Glastonbury Festival in 1998 when Banksy was a relatively unknown artist, reports the BBC. Auction house Digard said it was thought to be one of the artist's oldest works.
The painting measures 2.4m by 9.9m and depicts soldier-like figures landing an inflatable raft carrying speakers. It features the message: "It's better not to rely too much on silent majorities… for silence is a fragile thing... one loud noise and it's gone."
It was painted over three days outside the festival's Dance Tent, and is said to be an unusual work for Banksy, as it is largely freehand with little use of stencils.
Its Norfolk owners, an itinerant couple and their children, say it "depicts the… rave and hip hop scene of the time".
The father, identified only as Nathan, is a festival worker who knew Banksy at the time and had once busked with him in Bristol, Associated Press reports. Banksy reportedly offered Nathan £200, and he agreed to turn his trailer into a blank canvas for the artist's work.
One of Banksy's street-artist colleagues, known as Inkie, also collaborated on the mural, and the work came with a certificate of authentication at the sale.
In the Daily Mirror, Mary McCarthy, a leading UK street art specialist, said: "We've seen some incredible works by Banksy on the market in the last few years. "However, I think in terms of provenance and uniqueness, this one tops them all.
The old owners said: "The significance of Silent Majority is that it depicts this era and was painted whilst the free party movement was in its prime. It depicts the last rave and hip-hop scene of the time."
They now plan to use the proceeds of the sale to buy a house for their growing family, putting it on the same piece of land where their trailer once stood.