Banksy’s iconic Grim Reaper has been cut and removed from the side of a ship which has been used as a club. It was stencilled above the waterline on the ‘Thekla ‘about 10 years ago and has deteriorated considerably. It will now be restored and go on display at the Bristol Museum, the site of his retrospective exhibition, just a few years ago.
The mural sat just above the waterline on the ship’s steel hull and the elements have taken their toll. The boat is currently in dry dock for maintenance work. “It is great that we have been able to work with Bristol City Council to display this iconic Bristol artwork,” said George Akins of DHP Family, Thekla’s owner. “We really wanted to make sure, that although it is being removed from its intended setting, people could still see it for free and will now get a better view of it.”
Thekla was originally known as the Old Profanity Showboat following its move to Bristol in 1983 and conversion into a theatre by artist and musician Vivian Stanshall. The venue is normally docked between Prince Street Bridge and Redcliffe Way.
Thekla’s owner, music promoter the DHP Family, has decided to remove it while the boat is in dry dock for renovation and give it to city council museum M shed as a long term loan. George Akins, of DHP Family, said: “It is great that we have been able to work with Bristol City Council to display this iconic Bristol artwork. “To be clear, we have no intention of selling the Banksy, we just wanted to preserve the piece of art before it deteriorated too much and we wouldn’t have had another opportunity to do this for a further eight years.” “I would like to thank the DHP Family for entrusting the threatened work to the safe hands of the Bristol Museums team so it can now be preserved for future generations, Mr Akins added.