An important Banksy mural painted on the outside of a public toilet, in the east end of London, over ten years ago has been restored to its former glory by developers. The artwork which was vandalised, and sprayed over by the Council depicts a uniformed policeman on his hands and knees snorting a line of cocaine.
We’re putting it back in exactly the same location it was painted
The Snorting Copper valued at £1.25m belongs to Jonathan Ellis and David Kyte, who uncovered the mural after purchasing the disused site. They have stated that they have no intention of selling it and have decided to put it back on display in Shoreditch so that Banksy fans can enjoy the work. It will be unveiled on 5 October.
Ellis had heard from locals about the Banksy and knew it was a valuable part of local history. The day he completed on the property and got the keys, He went down to the property. He carefully took the plywood off the wall,” he said. Seeing the painting’s whitewashed surface, they arranged to cut the entire section of wall and have it transported to Chris Bull of the Fine Art Restoration Company in Carlisle. He told the Guardian. “It’s an amazing piece,” “We’ve had offers to sell it. But we want to put it back. We think that’s the right thing to do for the public to enjoy it. I’m proud to be able to do something like that.”
“John Brandler, a specialist dealer in Banksy artworks, said the painting was a famous image, reproduced in several books, “but no one knew where it was”. Ellis said the painting had been vandalised before “Hackney Council spray-jetted it and someone else painted it white”. It was then boarded over.”
“In a complex operation, the entire wall has been cut out and sent for restoration in Carlisle, Cumbria. After visiting the restorer’s studio, Brandler said: “I was blown away because I’d only seen [the painting] in books … It shows how a non-state approved artist can make some very punchy political points. Most cartoonists, when you look at their work, it’s very topical for a day or a week … This is a political comment and 10 or 20 years later, it’ll still be of interest.”
Apparently, there were two other versions of the artwork but this is only to survive. It is listed in two authorised books on Banksy with the location recorded.
In an interview with the Guardian, Ellis added: “We’re putting it back in exactly the same location it was painted on the toilet block, but we’ve put it back on the inside of the glass, so it can’t get vandalised or damaged. We’re lighting it up 24 hours a day so you can see it.” Refreshing to hear!