The British Museum has added a Banksy to its permanent collection. This is the first time one of his works has been acquired by a major London Museum. It is quite surprising that Tate Britain has overlooked this important artist.
The note carries the motto Banksy of England “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the ultimate price”
The print depicts a counterfeit £10 banknote with Diana, Princess of Wales, replacing the Queen. The work, titled Di-faced Tenner, was one of many thousands of copies created by the artist in 2004 as part of a stunt where the currency was scattered at the Notting Hill Carnival and at the Reading Festival.
In his 2010 Oscar-nominated film Exit Through the Gift Shop, Banksy said he made £1m pounds worth of the currency, planning to throw them off a building. He had handed some notes out at Reading festival but realised the stunt was backfiring when people started taking them to the bar to spend. “It was like, holy shit, we just forged a million quid, and obviously for that, you’d go to jail for ten years.” Distribution was stopped.
Banksy is an anonymous graffiti artist from Bristol, who uses subversive epigrams and dark humour to provide political and social commentary on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world. Banksy’s work grew out of the Bristol underground scene, which involved collaborations between artists and musicians. Banksy authentication and artist enquiries or reports of stolen work should be directed to Pest Control
The artwork was donated to the museum by the artist’s authenticating board, Pest Control.