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Rickinghall church discovers possible Banksy lying mysteriously on altar



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An exhibition at a village church in Suffolk took an unexpected turn yesterday after an art piece was mysteriously left on an altar – with some suspecting it could be an original Banksy.

During an exhibition at Rickinghall Church on Saturday, organisers were left scratching their heads after finding a mysterious art piece lying around inside a side chapel – with nobody knowing how it got there.

The picture, which depicts a rat holding a paint roller, bares a striking resemblance to the work of world-renowned street artist Banksy – who has been confirmed to be behind a series of works that appeared across Norfolk and Suffolk in recent days.

Karen Lawrence and Caroline Davidson with the piece of art which was found in the exhibition and believed to be by Banksy. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.
Karen Lawrence and Caroline Davidson with the piece of art which was found in the exhibition and believed to be by Banksy. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.

Caroline Davidson, the curator for the event, described how her husband Iain and friend Karen Lawrence discovered the piece whilst clearing out the chapel at the church.

She said: “There’s a side chapel, and when they went in they just saw it sat on top of the altar.

"We thought it looks like a Banksy and thought someone must be pulling some kind of joke. We thought 'which one of our friends could have done that?'

Organisers from the Church have taken it to a safe location, and are currently going through the process of authenticating the piece. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.
Organisers from the Church have taken it to a safe location, and are currently going through the process of authenticating the piece. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.

"But it was so well done, and it seems so authentic."

“And it was all very centrally placed – there’s a stain glass window behind the alter, and the colour of the canvas is the same as the wall behind it, which makes us think someone may have come round, done a recce, and they’ve put it in a place they have thought about."

The piece depicts a rat, an animal commonly featured in the Bristol-based artist's work, holding a paint roller above the words "I miss being a tree" – suggesting the piece may in fact be an original Banksy.

The picture is also on a piece of wood with the word 'Nicolas' on – suggesting it may have belonged to a wine crate from the French wine retailer of the same name.

"You can download the rat image on the internet, but you can't find any one like we've got, which has a paint roller on," added Mrs Davidson.

Organisers from the church are currently in the process of authenticating the piece, and are hoping that if it does prove to be real, it would help with some much-needed repairs.

"I’m starting to believe it a bit more," added Mrs Davidson. "If it does turn out to be authentic, it will be brilliant, and so huge for us.

"I've sent Banksy a message on Instagram saying that this will pay for our Church roof.

"We will have to talk to everyone, but if we sold it we would be able to pay to fix the roof, and if we didn’t sell it, we would charge people to come and look at it, because it would be such an amazing thing to have."

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