'Banksy' mural appears on wall of historic pub in Harrogate district

What may or may not be a mural by Banksy has appeared suddenly in the village of Scotton.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 5:02 pm
Guy Fawkes throwing Covid passports into the flames of a fire on the side of the Guy Fawkes Arms pub in the Harrogate district. (Picture by Charles Mackenzie)

Although there is no proof so far that the artwork is by the famous street artist, political activist, and film director whose real name and identity has always remained a mystery, the style and quality are certainly offer a good argument for it being so.

The image of a gleeful Guy Fawkes throwing Covid passports into the flames of a fire on the side of the Guy Fawkes Arms pub is skilfully executed and ties into the provocative side of Banksy

Is it a real Banksy or not? The mural on the side of the Guy Fawkes Arms pub in Scotton. (Picture by Charles Mackenzie)

Fawkes, who was born in York but lived in Scotton for a time on his mother's remarriage to a one Dennis Bainbridge, was a leading member of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament which was foiled in 1605, almost a century before the free house country pub pub named after him first opened its doors in the village.

It's not the first time there have been claims of a Banksy mural in public places in the Harrogate district.

In 2019, a image of a young deer in the style of the world famous, politically-conscious graffiti artist appeared near Bilton in Harrogate during the campaign to block a possible new relief road near Nidd Gorge.

The question of whether it was a Banksy was never convincingly resolved.

In 2015 graffiti in big black letters appeared on a wall at the back of Cheltenham Mount in Harrogate with the words “The game of life goes on in a formless empty space until the participants become weary of it or die.”

It was believed it was the responsibility of a local street artist, rather than Banksy, who use stencils to create his pieces.

In 2014, after much speculation and public chatter, it was revealed that stencil graffiti of a rat in Harrogate town centre on a wall between Kings Road and Back Cheltenham Mount was actually the work of a local artist, not Banksy.

In the case of the mural in Scotton, it's unlikely we will ever find out for sure. Banksy's work can fetch well over £1 million and is known all over the world but he does not always claim his work.

The Guy Fawkes Arms in Scotton reopens today for outdoor drinks only.

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