Graffiti stencilled on the iron doors of Wellington Monument is not a Banksy, the National Trust has been told. A spokesperson for Banksy has declared that the graffiti – which claims to be signed by the artist – is a fake.
Despite fencing around the base of the Monumen, it was found to have been painted with a stencilled portrait of the Queen and the slogan ‘one was ‘ere’, along with a stencilled signature which claimed the work to be by Banksy.
‘We had concerns immediately when we saw it about whether it was a Banksy,’ said Helen Sharp, Wellington Monument Project Manager for the National Trust.
‘We felt we should check to see if it was authentic and we received a quick reply – in very unambiguous terms – to say ‘this is not by Banksy’. It makes the decision on whether to remove the graffiti somewhat easier for us.
‘Quite often in the Trust we face the challenge of proving who created a painting in our collection, but it is unusual for us to be dealing with works by a living artist. This makes it somewhat simpler, though still intriguing.’
The National Trust is currently completing a detailed survey of the Monument which is guiding a project to repair the structure – the tallest monument of its kind in the UK. It has been estimated that a full repair to conserve the Monument would cost £4 million, but this figure is subject to final survey work. If more problems are revealed this could considerably raise the costs and put the project at risk.