In Depth

Vandalised Hull Banksy saved by window cleaner

New artwork by anonymous graffiti artist on Scott Street bridge defaced with white paint

A new work by graffiti artist Banksy in Hull has been saved by a team of volunteers led by a local window cleaner after becoming a target for vandals.

The stencilled mural, which depicts a young boy in a cape with a colander for a helmet and wooden sword, alongside the caption “draw the raised bridge!”, appeared on the derelict Scott Street bridge near the city centre last week.

On Friday, the secretive artist confirmed that he was responsible:

Window cleaner Jason Fanthorpe told BBC Radio Humberside how he had been horrified to see photos of the defaced artwork and decided to use his skills and equipment to undo the damage.

“This work is international prestige gifted to the city, and I couldn’t sit back and see nothing happen,” he said, according to a report in The Guardian.

Along with a small group of volunteers, Fanthorpe used a ladder and white spirit to remove the layer of paint obscuring the artwork.

“It’s a faded Banksy now, but it’s better than a silver blob,” he said.

Banksy’s works frequently sell for upwards of a million pounds. In September 2017, a Qatari buyer paid £3.2m for five Banksy murals originally painted on derelict buildings in Liverpool, the BBC reports.

The unexpected appearance of a new artwork by one of Britain’s best-known (although, technically, still unknown) artists has proven a headache for the city’s council, with art fans ignoring safety barriers around the disused bridge to get a closer look.

Marjorie Brabazon, a Labour party councillor, told the Hull Daily Mail she thought the piece was “great” but that its location raised difficulties.

"It needs to be preserved in some way," she said. "But no one seems to know how. With it being on a bridge, I'm not sure it's removable.”

Less conflicted was Conservative councillor John Abbott. “I think that should be cleaned off,” he said. However, Abbott did offer a small concession to the artist’s fans: “It should be photographed and the photograph kept,” he said. “Because Banksy is not without talent”.

A council spokeswoman has said that the artwork will be covered with perspex on Monday while the council comes up with a long-term plan to preserve it.

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