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Banksy offers to buy the prison where Oscar Wilde was held – ARTnews.com

Banksy offered to buy Reading Prison, where is it? Oscar Wilde was once jailed, for selling a pencil he used in a piece glorifying a Victorian author, follow Guardians. The artist plans to convert the prison into an art center.

Already famous for Painting by Dorian Gray and The importance of being Grave, Wilde was imprisoned in Reading Gaol for two years, beginning in 1895, for “gross indecency” due to his relations with men. It was while serving a hard sentence that Wilde wrote De Profundis, a letter published after it was published to his lover, which outlined the bad course of their relationship and Wilde’s own thoughts about his life and career.

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After serving his prison term, he left for France and never returned to the UK.

“[Wilde was] patron saint of smashing two contrasting ideas together to create magic,” Banksy told Guardians. “Converting the place that destroyed him into a refuge for the arts felt so perfect, we had to do it.”

The Reading Prison was brought to market in 2019, despite widespread opposition. In March, Banksy tagged the building with a new piece depicting a writer (a nod to Wilde) using a tied bed sheet to escape from prison while carrying a typewriter. Sellers listed the prison for £10 million ($13 million).

Banksy has promised to raise the asking price by selling the pencil he used to create his artwork of the escaped writer, if Reading Prison accepts the bid. Between his $13 million takeover offer and the additional funds raised by Reading Borough Council to save the historic landmark, Bansky and Council should have the funds needed to meet the asking price, but it is still unclear whether the seller will accept the unorthodox offer.

Toby Davies, artistic director of the Rabble Theater in Reading, told BBC, “Banksy is offering an amazing amount of money, which will go directly to MoJ for the public good. Banksy’s offer is phenomenal, and if the MoJ declines it then I consider it a criminal act.”

https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/banksy-prison-oscar-wilde-1234612556/ Banksy offers to buy the prison where Oscar Wilde was held – ARTnews.com

Yasmin Harisha

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