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Banksy rat resurfaces in London auction bonanza

Artist 'would hate' estimated £3m sale of works

Written by . Published on April 25th 2014.

Banksy rat resurfaces in London auction bonanza

THE BANKSY RAT which disappeared from the wall of Liverpool's Whitehouse pub last January, has resurfaced in London where it is expected to fetch £225,000 at auction this weekend. 

But in a somewhat wry statement, the Bristol artist says the sale of what is now known as  “Liverpool Rat “ and six other of his works is going ahead without his approval or consent. However a Banksy expert has gone further and said “I'm sure he hates it.” 

This Sunday's Banksy bonanza could net £3m for the mysterious Sincura Group who have “painstakingly” yanked seven of the large scale urban graffiti from buildings the country over. 

Sincura insist that they only did so after being approached by the owners and have, in fact, done them a favour by stopping Grade II listed status being applied to their properties – a possibility, they say, if the Banksys had remained. 

Will Ellsworth-Jones, the author of a book about the artist, told the daily Telegraph that Banksy would not approve of sale.

"I'm sure he hates it. He feels his work should be left where it is, even if it's destroyed."

The rat, which appeared during the Liverpool Biennial of 2004, is believed to be the world's biggest Banksy. It was finally removed from the side of the decaying building on Duke Street/Berry Street last year when new owners Ascot Properties began redevelopment work.

Ascot claims that that the money raised from the sale will go to good causes in Liverpool.

In a  post on his website, the artist, who has kept his identity a closely guarded secret, said he had no connection with the sale or the accompanying exhibition, 'Stealing Banksy' in which visitors are invited to part with £17.50 to view the graffiti murals.

"Banksy would like to make it clear - This show has got nothing to do with me and I think it's disgusting people are allowed to go around displaying art on walls without getting permission," it said.

Among the seven works said to be included in the sale are "Berlin Door", "No Ball Games" "Girl With Balloon".

An auction using online and sealed bids will conclude on Sunday. The rat is being sold as seen, but could demand a price tag of half a million pounds or more once restored.

Sincura says the presence of a Banksy often left property owners with "the very real risk of having a Grade II listing applied to their premises which seriously affects their business operations and resale value".

They added: "Though loved by the public, these Banksys are often a liability to the building owners.

"We make sure the pieces go in to collections owned by ethically sound individuals or corporates," it claims.

From rat, to flats, to restaurant and bar

The White House pub building was Grade II-listed in 2004, prior to the appearance of the 30ft high Banksy rat, and so was not included in the listing. Instead it was classed by Liverpool City Council as “an unauthorised addition to a listed building”

Terry Riley's Ascot Property Group subsequently bought the rotting premises and received a grant of £307,000 from the council, under the Townscape Heritage Initiative, to bring historical buildings back into use. They were criticised after saying they would get local artists to paint a reproduction rat on the building.

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Although Ascot had planning permission for ground floor retail and flats, it now emerges that it will be turned into a bar/restaurant.

In February, Liverpool council granted The US Bar Kitchen Catering Co (the applicant on behalf of Ascot), a licence to sell alcohol with food. However councillors on the planning subcommittee criticised the owners for not making it clear, originally, that it would become a restaurant.

Merseyside Police weighed in with its own objections, saying that there was no discernable kitchen area and only bar snacks could be sold. Furthermore it said there was no mention in the application about how it would operate in the Cumulative Impact Policy area, which bids to reduce nuisance caused by alcohol in residential areas.

“It is felt that this is a way to get around the Cumulative Impact Policy,” said a spokesman.

The alcohol licence was granted on the basis that substantial food would be served with liquor, in a restaurant layout, with police approved CCTV fitted.  

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousApril 25th 2014.

Now there's a surprise.

John BradleyApril 25th 2014.

Residential area?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 25th 2014.

That would be all them flats

John BradleyApril 25th 2014.

The ones above bars?

scouse690April 25th 2014.

Already a Grade 2 listed building, so technically any removal from the façade of the White House, was against the law anyway. The feeble local Council should have stopped this! But to now see it in London (at £17.50 pp entrance fee, along with 6 other Banksys') and then to be sold? To sell another persons art work...is theft. To remove that artwork from its location...is theft. Why have they not all been arrested, and the artwork returned to the artist? They have said that all proceeds will go to Charity....then on further questioning admitted "that of course we shall deduct management and handling fees".....Lock the bloody thieves up!! If we had gone out there with a hammer and chisel, we'd be up in court now!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 25th 2014.

You've been seduced by the hype, don't believe it!

PusApril 26th 2014.

It's a cat. The rodent teeth are absent.

Press GangApril 26th 2014.

So the landmark White House itself has gone after over two hundreed years. Typical of Liverpool.

AnonymousApril 26th 2014.

It is long-established that this painting is in fact a cat: see www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/…/Banksy-The-Rat-or-so-they-say… Only the johnny-come-latelies reckon it is a 'rat'!

Bill MajorMay 9th 2014.

I prefer it to be a rat, it's tail is a rat's.The key is the machine gun, with the threat to the developers and other suits who have buzzed around Liverpool like flies around shit. One day, one day......

1 Response: Reply To This...
Art LineMay 9th 2014.

That's not a machine gun, it is a 'gem marker' with which the cat has drawn the broad red line around the walls of the building.

John BradleyMay 10th 2014.

The Cat's front leg, holding the device looks very awkward. All the bits of Banksy's work I have seen are more elegant than that. It has always bugged me about the work.

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