Whitewashed Banksy restoration 'could cost thousands'

Wall in Eastville. Pic Dean Meadows.
Image caption The wall was whitewashed by the new owner of the building who had never heard of Banksy

A early Banksy work which was accidentally painted over on a building in Bristol could be restored but at a cost of thousands of pounds.

Gorilla In A Pink Mask was drawn on the side of a former social club in Eastville.

Richard Pelter from International Fine Art Conservation Studios said: "The upper layers of paint can be removed, very carefully.

"It would take quite a long time and cost quite a bit of money to do it."

The work on the wall of the ex-North Bristol Social Club, in Eastville, had been a familiar landmark in the area for more than 10 years.

'Familiar landmark'

Mr Pelter said he had been to the site and carried out some tests.

"What I found was that the paint there was quite soluble underneath, but no-one could actually tell me where it was on the wall."

Image caption Banksy's gorilla in a pink mask appeared on the wall of the former North Bristol Social Club in Eastville

But the building has recently been turned into a Muslim cultural centre.

New owner Saeed Ahmed assumed it was a regular piece of graffiti and had it painted over. "I thought it was worthless," he said.

He added: "I didn't know it was valuable and that's why I painted over it. I really am sorry if people are upset."

Local resident Dean Meadows described the whitewashing of the painting as a "big, big shame".

"It's currently being shared around the world on Twitter, so hopefully Banksy will hear and replace it himself," he said.

Mr Ahmed said he was willing to explore options to see if the whitewash can be removed and the painting restored.

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