A MYSTERIOUS piece of artwork has created rumours that Banksy may have left his mark on a hotel in Swindon.

The piece of graffiti appeared on the wall of the accommodation block of the South Marston Mercure Hotel overnight last week and the owner has been left wondering if it is a piece of artwork from the elusive street artist Banksy.

The owner of the hotel, Paul Cripps, now wants to find out if the image of the rat, which has become iconic in pieces of art by Banksy, is the real deal or just an imitation.

The piece of artwork was discovered on Friday morning when Mr Cripps was at the hotel for a meeting.

He made sure that it was protected by perspex just in case it was a genuine piece, which have been known to sell for thousands of pounds at auction.

The artist, who goes under the name of Banksy, was born in Bristol and has risen to fame for his series of satirical street art which uses a distinctive stencilling technique.

The hotel’s deputy general manager, Steve Goulding, said: “The owner spotted it when he was coming in for a meeting and asked if anyone had seen it.

“He was jumping about because he is a big Banksy fan and he now wants to know if it is genuine or not.

“He made sure we covered it with perspex straight away so that nobody could paint over it.

“It must have been done on Thursday evening or early Friday morning because it was not there on Thursday when we do our usual checks.

“It just seems a bit weird that he would chose our hotel – he’s from Bristol and that’s where a lot of them are.

“We would like to know what people think and if there is an expert out there who could say whether it is a Banksy or not.

“It has caused a bit of a stir over the weekend with our guests and leisure members seeing it and it would be great to say that we have a Banksy at the hotel.”

Banksy has become a household name in the world of street art since the turn of the millennium and celebrity owners of his art include Christina Aguilera and Angelina Jolie.

One of the first conventional exhibitions of his art was held in a warehouse in 2000, but Banksy gave out only the street number for the building and not the street.

A number of fake Banksy’s have appeared as PR stunts across the country and people can now buy stencils of his work online.


Banksy stencils are among the best known and best loved street art in the world, and have been making the news headlines this year.

A Banksy named Slave Labour, on the wall of the Turnpike Lane Poundland store in north London portraying a young child sewing Union Flag bunting caused controversy after it was plastered over.

It was sold last month to a mystery buyer at a members-only event at the London Film Museum in Covent Garden.

A mural of Jesus being chased by police and paparazzi close to London Bridge was reportedly to be Banksy but was later revealed as a fake.

Unveiled in time for Easter, the artwork shows Jesus Christ carrying the cross while photographers take snapshots of his suffering and angry police wield batons at him. It used his trademark stencilling technique and is in line with his usual subject matter and was reported by London based art site artlyst.com that the new mural has been nicknamed “the stations of the cross”.

A new Banksy artwork was discovered on the side of an empty building in London in December, appearing in the financial district of Canary Wharf, bearing the simple message: “Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock”.

The piece appeared to accompany an earlier Banksy effort discovered in Chelsea a month before - a trademark stencil and spray-paint picture depicting a girl and a shopping trolley tumbling from the sky with what looks like a bottle of wine and a necklace.