Cheltenham Banksy 'mural to cost £26,000 to restore'

Banksy's Spy Booth artwork in Cheltenham Image copyright PA
Image caption The 'Spy Booth' artwork on the Hewlett Road house attracted hordes of visitors when it appeared in April

A graffiti-damaged mural in Cheltenham by street artist Banksy can be restored at a cost of almost £26,000, a professional art conservator has said.

The 'Spy Booth' artwork, which depicts three spies "snooping" on a telephone box, appeared in Hewlett Road in April.

It was badly damaged with spray paint earlier this month.

Robin Barton, from London's Bankrobber gallery, who asked Tom Organ to assess the damage, said the six-week project would return it "to its former glory".

Image caption Professional art restorer Tom Organ assessed the damage to the Banksy and said it could be restored

Mr Barton said it had been "established beyond doubt" that the mural could be successfully restored whilst keeping the structural integrity of the Grade II* listed building intact.

Mr Barton added that Roger Wilson, the man who claims to own the house, had "agreed to cover the costs of the restoration in full".

In a letter to Mr Barton, professional art restorer Mr Organ said he aimed to recover the original image, under the recent graffiti, and to carry out "essential stabilisation and work" in order to improve its long-term conservation.

Mr Organ, who also warned the cost of any restoration project could rise, added he would need "proof of ownership of the piece" before any work could be carried out.

Image copyright David Houghton
Image caption Silver and red graffiti was sprayed over the Banksy artwork earlier this month

The artwork was daubed with white paint just days after it appeared in April but it was saved by drinkers who rushed from a nearby pub to wash off the paint before it dried.

In August, silver and red graffiti was sprayed over the mural and, less than two weeks later, protective hoardings were removed and holes made at the four corners.

After the holes appeared, businessman Hekmat Kaveh - who has offered funds to buy the house to ensure the mural stays in the town - said he thought an attempt was being made to remove it.

And on Wednesday, photos emerged of the inside of the house on which the Banksy is painted after "substantial work" was carried out on the listed building.

Image copyright Hekmat Kaveh
Image caption Hekmat Kaveh took photos while surveying the house interior and said he was 'shocked' at the latest damage

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