Banksy to raise millions to transform Reading jail into art centre

Banksy has offered to match Reading prison’s asking price of £10 million by selling the stencils he used to paint the artwork seen on the building.

Back in March, Mix Mag reports, the artist created a mural on the wall of the prison displaying a man dressed in prisoners’ clothing scaling down the wall with a rope made from the scroll of a typewriter.

Many believe that this portrait is of famous poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde who served time at the prison between 1895-1897.

Campaigners hope that this sale will prevent the Grade-II listed building from being sold to housing developers.

Banksy said: “I had very little interest in Reading until I was on a rail replacement bus service that went past the jail.

“It’s rare to find an uninterrupted 500m-long paintable surface slap bang in the middle of a town; I literally clambered over the passenger next to me to get a closer look.

“I promised myself I’d paint the wall even before I knew what it was – I’m passionate about it now, though.

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

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