Banksy's gorilla in a pink mask removed from Bristol wall

Image source, Josh Jukes
Image caption,
The artwork was covered by black sheeting on Monday

A Banksy artwork, which was mistakenly painted over before being partly restored, has been removed.

The "gorilla in a pink mask" stencil - though to date from the early 2000s - had been on the wall of the former North Bristol Social Club in Eastville.

In 2011 it was whitewashed by the building's owner, who was unaware of its significance.

It is not known who removed it or where it has gone. Avon and Somerset Police said no theft had been reported.

Josh Jukes saw a van parked at the site on Monday and assumed the image was being restored.

"But I see that it is now missing which is such a shame," he said.

Image caption,
The artwork had gone by Thursday morning

It is believed an angle-grinder was used to cut through the render which covered a breeze-block wall.

Richard Pelter from International Fine Art Conservation Studios said he had visited the site in 2011 to assess the damage.

He said it had been painted over and further graffiti added on top of that before it was jet-washed - to reveal a washed out image - which had remained in place since.

Image caption,
A faded impression of the original painting was all that was left before it was removed

He said while "it's unique when it goes up" what ever happens to the artwork thereafter "doesn't make it anymore valuable".

"It would be a monstrous task for anyone to restore it and it would only be the restorer's interpretation of the work."

He added there would be no real market value to it.

"It would be worth whatever anyone would be prepared to pay for it."

Image source, Steve Chapple
Image caption,
The artwork as it was before 2011

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