For the transformation of the jail where Oscar Wilde was incarcerated into an artists centre, Bansky has pledged millions of dollars

For the transformation of the jail where Oscar Wilde was incarcerated into an artists centre, Bansky has pledged millions of dollars

As part of a quest for a prison that formerly housed Oscar Wilde to be transformed into an arts centre, Banksy has pledged to raise millions of pounds to help.

HMP Reading is a Grade-II listed prison, and campaigners hope this approach will prevent it from being sold to developers.

By selling a stencil he used for the artwork he painted on the exterior of the Berkshire prison in March, an anonymous street artist intends to turn it into a "refuge for art," according to the Sunday Times.

In addition to Reading Borough Council's contribution, his donation would add around £12.6 million to the bid for the former jail.
"I had no interest in Reading until I was on a rail replacement bus service that passed by the jail," Banksy remarked in an interview. When I saw this 500-meter-long stretch of paintable surface in the middle of a town, I had to climb over the passenger next to me to have a closer look.

As soon as I figured out what the wall was, I vowed to paint it. However, I'm now enamoured with the subject.

Wilde is the patron saint of smashing two opposing ideas together in order to create magic. Converting the spot where he was killed into an art museum feels like the right thing to do."

With a typewriter in hand, the Bristol-based artist created a figure believed to be that of Oscar Wilde abseiling from the perimeter wall.
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery displayed the stencil this month as part of Grayson Perry's Grayson's Art Club Channel 4 exhibition.

Between 1895 until 1897, Wilde was held at Reading Gaol after being convicted of gross indecency for his homosexual relationship with Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas.

After his release, Wilde wrote about his time in prison in The Ballad Of Reading Gaol, a letter he penned to his former sweetheart.

Built on a former monastery constructed by Henry I (son of William the Conqueror), Reading Abbey is now a prison.
Under the altar of Henry's Grayson's Art Club, now presumed to be under the prison car park or walls, he was buried.

It has already been proven that the prison can be used for art exhibitions, says Reading East Labour MP Matt Rodda, and he plans to raise an urgent question in Parliament this week.

x