Banksy artwork house owner says property sale still going ahead

The owner of a house in Bristol on which Banksy created a new artwork has not pulled out of the property’s sale, her son has said.

Nicholas Makin, whose mother Aileen owns the home in Vale Street in Totterdown, said newspaper reports claiming she had taken the property off the market are “not true”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “When you wake up to tabloids saying your house is now worth £5 million you’ve got to think about what you’re doing.

“It does increase the value, and you have to take a moment to think about it, but it’s not changing anything in terms of the house sale for us.”

Graffiti artwork – Bristol
Graffiti artwork – Bristol

Banksy’s piece, entitled “Aachoo!!”, was first discovered on the external wall of the semi-detached house on Thursday morning.

It depicts a pensioner in a headscarf sneezing and her dentures shooting out of her mouth.

Mr Makin said sale proceedings had been put “on hold” for 48 hours following the discovery, and he added that buyers and estate agents were “completely understanding”.

He said there had been “lots of nasty comments” made online after some tabloid newspapers reported the family was pulling out of the sale.

“That’s always going to happen with something like this,” he said. “We’ve received a bit of abuse from it.”

An alarm system has been installed and a clear cover has been placed over the artwork to protect it.

Banksy work
Banksy work

“Not only has it not earned us £5 million, as the papers said, it’s actually cost us money to protect it,” Mr Makin said.

“We think it should be protected and stay where it is.”

In an image released by Banksy, the woman’s sneeze appears to have knocked over a wheelie bin at the next-door property, while a man holding an umbrella is being blown backwards.

A spokesman for Bristol City Council told the PA news agency the authority is not involved as the artwork was sprayed on a private property.

Banksy confirmed the piece was his work on his website and Instagram page on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Makin said: “We are looking into getting a covenant put into the deeds of the house to try and keep it there, or if it was to be removed, to be removed to the Bristol City Council or the museum so it can be kept in its condition, and safe and in the right hands.”

Banksy artwork
Banksy artwork

Fred Loosmore, 28, who rented a room in the house until recently, said he screwed a piece of clear acrylic over the artwork to protect it.

Mr Loosmore, along with colleague Sam Hunt, 28, brought the piece of acrylic from their nearby business Contrast Timbers.

“We wanted to cover it up because people will deface it, and luckily we’ve got a workshop and a massive piece of acrylic we’ve got left over,” Mr Loosmore said.