Miniature Banksy model sells for £1million at auction

The owners of the statue said: "Banksy has been a life-saver for us"

A miniature Banksy model has sold for £1million at auction.

The model, which is of a tiny thatched building and has the words “Go Big or Go Home” written on it, first appeared at a model village in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, as part of his Great British Spraycation event last year.

The anonymous Bristol-based graffiti artist posted a video last August in which he could be seen spraying a number of new artworks around seaside locations in Norfolk and Suffolk.

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Now, the model thatched building that was a part of this event has sold to a telephone bidder at an auction in Newcastle.

The piece sold for £800,000 but with the addition of commission and artist’s fee, the figure is thought to be just over £1million.

As auctioneer Julian Thomson of Aderson and Garland brought down the hammer at the auction, he said: “Well that was exciting, please stay with us as we have more affordable artwork to move on to now.”

Introducing the model he said he was “delighted to bring the artwork to the North East” and that it was a “great honour” to bring this to the market for the first time.

One of the owners of the model, Frances Newsome, told the BBC: “The Banksy has been a life-saver for us as we’ve had to close so much due to the pandemic.

“We hope the sale will safeguard the future of the village.”

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The model went unnoticed for two days until a visitor pointed it out. It was later confirmed as a Banksy by ‘Pest Control’, which authenticates his works.

In other news, Banksy recently pledged to raise millions in order to buy Reading Prison so that it can be turned into an arts venue.

The artist painted a mural on the building last March that showed a prisoner – resembling famous inmate Oscar Wilde – escaping using a rope fashioned from bedsheets tied to a typewriter.

Banksy subsequently confirmed that the piece was his own creation. He has now offered to sell the stencil he used on the Grade II-listed building to match the £10million asking price.

The prison has been derelict since 2013 and was put up for sale by the government in 2019. Reading Borough Council submitted a new bid to purchase the site and turn it into an arts venue, after the sale of the prison fell through last November. A spokesperson for Banksy told the BBC that the pledge was dependent on the Ministry of Justice awarding the bid to Reading Borough Council.

Banksy said: “Oscar Wilde is the patron saint of smashing two contrasting ideas together to create magic. Converting the place that destroyed him into a refuge for art feels so perfect we have to do it.”

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