Banksy 'rat' mural to return to Liverpool

Banksy rat mural The mural was removed and restored for sale after it began to erode

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A celebrated "rat" mural by graffiti artist Banksy is to return to Liverpool after it failed to sell at a London auction.

The black and white design was painted on the outside of the derelict former Whitehouse pub in 2004.

But the artwork began to slowly erode, prompting a scheme to remove and restore it for sale.

The mural failed to sell at auction in May, and will soon form part of a new public display in Liverpool.

Liverpool-based Ascot Property Group acquired the Grade II-listed former pub on the corner of Berry Street and Duke Street in 2011, and was closely involved with the plan to painstakingly remove and piece the mural back together.

Banksy rat Rodents are a popular theme in Banksy's street art, as this piece in London shows

However, it failed to reach its reserve price of £225,000.

Stuart Howard, of Ascot Property, confirmed plans were now being discussed to bring the rat back to Liverpool.

He said detailed plans would be revealed in "a few weeks".

Many of Banky's murals feature rats or rodents, but the Liverpool rat is thought to be one of the artist's largest works in the UK.

It is understood the mural will not return to the former pub, which is now a restaurant.

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