‘Astounded’ owner unearths hidden Banksy mural on wall


An ‘astounded’ homeowner has unearthed a hidden Banksy mural on his wall – and now plans to sell it for a staggering amount. The creation was initially spray-painted on an office building in Holywell Row, Shoreditch in 2006.

Bristol’s famous graffiti artist even signed the piece, which showed Apache Attack helicopters with pink bows on them. Fans flocked to see Holywell Row Happy Helicopters, which annoyed the previous owners.

They became so frustrated with people turning up at their door that they made the unusual decision to paint over the masterpiece. The house was then sold without the new owner being told about the famous artwork that remained hidden.

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Luckily, the new owner was a Banksy fan and happened to be flipping through one of the artist’s books when he spotted his building. Wasting no time, he paid for an art restorer to bring the piece back to its former beauty.

It’s now expected to fetch up to £700,000 in auction. The vendor, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the Sun: “We were astounded to discover that our office building was the canvas for an artwork of this significance, and what was more, it had been painted over by the previous owner.

“We wanted to ensure the integrity of the piece so approached restoration specialists to find the best way of preserving it for generations to come.”

He added that ‘no one had attempted to rescue a fragile work of high-profile street art like this before’. The piece had been ‘painted on render’, so they decided to remove it in sections.

Chris Bull, of The Fine Art Restoration Company who worked on the project said: “The conservation of Happy Choppers took over a year to complete.Previous overpaint and localised graffiti was also removed without disturbing Banky’s original stencil.

“As these murals do not use a medium traditionally found in art, our conservators investigated the chemistry of the original pigments and developed new techniques suitable for the safe treatment of aerosol art. One of the many difficulties we had was that the work had been sprayed on render and structurally could not be removed in one piece due to the likely risk of it breaking apart. The decision had to be taken for it to be removed in sections.”

The piece will be sold at auction on March 20.

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