Banksy mural worth £6 million lifted into new London exhibition by crane

'Valentine's Day Mascara' briefly dangled above Regent Street in the early hours of Tuesday

'Valentine's Day Mascara', on show in central London, had appeared on a house in the seaside town of Margate, south-east England. PA
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An artwork by the graffiti artist Banksy has been hoisted by a crane into a new exhibition in central London.

The 3.8-tonne mural, called Valentine's Day Mascara, briefly “dangled” above Regent Street before being placed in the foyer of The Art of Banksy exhibition on Tuesday morning.

It is among more than 150 works in the exhibition of work by England-based street artist Banksy, whose real name and identity remain unconfirmed and have long been the subject of speculation.

The £6 million work appeared on the side of a house in the seaside town of Margate, in south-east England, on Valentine's Day this year.

It depicts a 1950s homemaker with a swollen eye and missing tooth, wearing an apron and yellow washing-up gloves, and throwing a man into a freezer.

The real-life freezer used to complement the mural was removed twice in the days after the work was painted, leading to the decision to move the piece to somewhere less accessible.

It was later moved to the seaside town's Dreamland amusement park for public display. It is set to return there after the show.

In August, it was announced that the work would be for sale to the public through 27,000 shares priced at £120 ($149) each, which were made available on marketplace Showpiece.

The Art of Banksy curator Michel Boersma said: “We've been secretly planning this operation for months, but it was still an extremely tense moment having such an important and valuable artwork dangling from a crane above Regent Street.

“We are, of course, delighted to have it in the exhibition and are offering the public the chance to see it for free as it was created, as a street piece.

Banksy collection – in pictures

“It's a work that casts a light on domestic abuse and as such, we are working with several domestic violence support charities and raising funds through donations.”

The Art of Banksy exhibition, which is not curated or authorised by the artist, is donating a share of its merchandise sales to several independent charities focused on refugee support, Ukrainian relief and female empowerment.

Other featured works include Banksy's Mona Lisa, a signed but previously unknown work which was originally bought directly from the artist by a Hollywood A-list actor in 2003.

Another addition to the collection is the original Flower Thrower, created by Banksy as a Valentine's Day gift for his girlfriend at the time, six years before the artist officially made Love is in the Air.

Tickets for the full exhibition start from £17.50, with doors opening on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a change to the famed traffic cone on the head of a statue of the Duke of Wellington in central Glasgow is not the work of Banksy, it has been reported.

Situated outside the Gallery of Modern Art, the statue of the 19th-century politician and military commander on horseback has for four decades had an orange traffic cone adorning its head.

Banksy has described it as his favourite artwork and part of the reason he decided to hold Cut & Run, his first solo exhibition in 14 years, in the Gallery of Modern Art this summer.

Glaswegians have since noticed that a new cone has since been placed on the statue – with a propeller on top and a black stripe at the base – while a standard traffic cone has been placed under the duke's arm.

However, it is reportedly not the work of Banksy, with the identity of the perpetrator unknown.

The Art of Banksy opens on Regent Street, central London, on September 13.

Updated: September 12, 2023, 1:02 PM