Possible Banksy artwork appears on walls of Reading prison

It depicts a prisoner making an audacious bid for freedom

An artwork bearing the familiar style of street art icon Banksy has appeared on the side of Reading Prison.

The picture, which emerged on Monday morning (March 1) shows a prisoner – resembling famous inmate Oscar Wilde – escaping from the prison using a rope fashioned from bedsheets tied to a typewriter.

While Banksy is yet to confirm if he is behind the piece, it comes as campaigners rally for the former jail to be transformed into an arts hub instead of being sold off for housing.


The jail famously hosted Oscar Wilde’s incarceration between 1895 and 1897, which inspired his stirring poem Ballad of Reading Gaol – an uncompromising look at the brutal reality of life behind bars in Victorian England.

Crowds look at the new mural on the walls of Reading Prison (Picture: Alamy)

As the BBC reports, the campaign to turn the prison into an arts hub has been previously backed by the likes of Dame Judi Dench and Sir Kenneth Branagh.

Banksy’s most recent public mural emerged in his native Bristol in December 2020, depicting a woman sneezing out her false teeth.

The artwork, entitled “Aachoo!!”, was first spotted on the side of a semi-detached house in Totterdown.


It marked the latest in a series of murals Banksy has unveiled since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In October 2020, the elusive artist confirmed he was behind a mural depicting a girl hula hooping with a tyre which appeared in Lenton, Nottingham

He also previously spray painted graffiti artwork on a London Underground train with rats pictured sneezing across the carriage and wearing face masks.

Banksy also celebrated the health workers of the UK in a sketch that portrayed them as superheroes during the ongoing battle against COVID-19.